Waiting for Werrity Part 3 (You say tomato and I say…)

This blog entry is just a brief look at some of the shooting industry’s responses to the Werrity Report. Magnus Linklater, a trustee of a grouse estate, wrote an interesting piece in The Times (a paper of which he was formerly Scottish Editor) saying that “gamekeepers perform a useful service for conservation by controlling vermin”. The problem here is that what Magnus and many other grouse moor owners, managers and workers see as “vermin” many of us regard as an important part of our natural heritage. We also feel that allowing this natural heritage to be destroyed so a few highly privileged individuals can enjoy shooting some birds that have been specially reared and released for this purpose is a blot on our national reputation and a serious dereliction of the duty to preserve “All of nature for all of Scotland”.

Below are a few photographs of vermin control and muirburn on grouse estates.

“Vermin” control using a Fenn Trap
“Vermin” control of Mountain Hares a species “in substantial long term decline”
A gamekeeper’s ‘stink pit’ used to attract “vermin” that are then killed and added to it
Muirburn on grouse moor Cairngorms National Park. How many animals are burned alive?

Some may regard the above pictures as examples of a useful service to conservation but many will not. What may surprise many is that none of these photos photos show the results of illegality. Everything shown is sanctioned by the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage. “All of nature for all of Scotland”!

And what is the end product of all this conservation work?

Shot grouse dumped and left to rot after a shoot

Magnus Linklater whose article was quoted at the start of this post ends it “It is one of the great ironies of the countryside that gamekeepers, so vilified by campaigners, are in fact guardians of the wildlife diversity that is so important to rural Scotland. They too are an endangered species and they too deserve protection.” There is certainly an irony here Magnus but we are not sure that it is quite the one you suggest.

5 thoughts on “Waiting for Werrity Part 3 (You say tomato and I say…)

  1. Well said WMPUK..I’m truly disgusted that behaviour is allowing and facilitated in OUR countryside.
    Please keep up the fight and informing us of the truth of what is really going on in the countryside.


  2. What on earth is going on? Australia is burning because of climate change and we are allowing it here in the guise of conservation. What the hell is wrong with the people who run the Scottish Government? What are they afraid of?


  3. I have always been a supporter of the SNP and thought @strathernrose was a decent woman of principle but her silence and inaction on this is beyond belief! #shameofscotland


    1. SNP want independence at all costs…..even if it means monoculture sitka spruce, loss of mountain hare, hen harrier, goshawk, golden eagle, beaver etc etc etc.

      Clearly conflicted with the economy numbers and land owners whilst greenwashing and misleading the public.

      They must do better on environmental issues.


  4. There is a huge problem with the word ‘vermin’. The ‘uneducated’, ignorant, or just general public just have to see/hear the word vermin in a sentence to believe it is justified slaughter. I do not , (try not to), attach beauty and cuteness to any specific wildlife as a measure of its importance, or right to exist, but how anyone can destroy stoats & weasels with any justification, or anyone else can believe in their destruction a s being necessary to any form of conservation, except perhaps when an introduced species unbalancing the ‘natural order’, is beyond me. But when the justification, extolled by those destroyers of our natural heritage, use the uncontrolled killing as a necessity, to help waders & other ground nesting birds, the hypocrisy is mindblowing, not to convince, or persuade, actual conservationists of this necessity, but to influence the general public, or those on the edge of ‘wonderment’ at the natural world, that it is rightful, and will easily get them on their side.
    These animals are not vermin. That is just a word that means, in effect, ‘in our way’, for whatever reason, and the main reason is because they may take a few grouse chicks, which may lessen the vast numbers on the grouse moors that are shot for fun…not even food.


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