Millden Estate Gamekeeper Pleads Guilty. Part 2:

This is a brief update after yesterday’s blog. There will be a lot more to come.

It has been suggested that Rhys Davies, the Millden Estate gamekeepr who pled guilty to animal welfare offences yesterday was an easily led young man. But what remains unanswered is, if he was led, then by whom and why didn’t his colleagues and managers notice this and report it?

Eleven dogs were seized from Davies property on the Millden estate, a number of dogs showed signs of injuries, some historic and some fresh. How is it that no one on the estate noticed these and where were these injuries sustained?

The SSPCA Special Investigations Unit was initially tipped off about Davies because he sent photographs of horrifically injured and dead animals to a photo printing company to have high quality prints made. The photos also showed a number of readily identified individuals posing with spades and dead animals at what appeared to be badger setts and fox dens. A young child was in one of the photos. Clearly Davies had no concerns about the advertising the sadistic and criminal activities he was involved in and yet apparently none of his colleagues, neighbours or superiors knew anything about it. Some might feel that at the very least the Millden Estate staff and management are not very bright.

Other photographs and film were recovered after a forensic search of Davies mobile phone. This is extremely common as like many other sadistic offences such as child abuse and sadistic sexual murder the offenders keep photos, films or other momentoes of their crimes. That is why these are known as ‘trophy offences’.

We wonder how the other individuals in Davies photo album will feel as they wait for the knock on the door. Perhaps it is a good job that he is now working in a boatyard in Wales a long way from Scotland.

A Millden Estate spokesperson is reported as saying “At no stage was the estate itself the focus of the investigation”. However we are aware that extensive searches of the estate were conducted by police, SSPCA inspectors and ecologists who specialise in dealing with badger baiting. One of these ecologists ended their report with the following summary:

Summary The ecology of this area of land has been driven out of balance by its management. The direct effects of this have been outlined above but there is an indirect effect as well. By reducing the numbers of ‘prey’ species the management greatly increases the risk to the game birds from ‘predatory’ species. In the absence of adequate natural prey game birds are the principal available source of food. Because much of the neighbouring land (including the Cairngorms National Park) is wildlife rich this estate acts as a ‘wildlife sink’. Population pressure and natural inquisitiveness encourages wildlife to try to explore this area. Those that make it in will rarely leave alive. Land mammals are mostly either successfully excluded by fencing or killed by trapping or shooting. Birds are the only group that can regularly successfully cross the fencing. They find an area with extremely limited prey apart from the game birds.

I can best describe this estate as a zoo with three compounds. Each one is excellently managed for the species it was intended to contain but to the total exclusion of everything else.”

The gift of grouse?

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