Tuesday, 4 October 2016


Following changes to Animal Welfare legislation announced today by The Scottish Government, images like this should be consigned to the past.

Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg said: “The benefit that this exemption to the law will convey in terms of the welfare of working Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers all over Scotland cannot be underestimated.
“It is a major improvement to Animal Welfare legislation in this country and one we welcome.
“By targeting the exemption specifically at the particular small sub-set of the dog population where evidence proves beyond doubt that there have been welfare issues which could no longer be ignored, Scottish Government deserve immense credit.
“Research from Glasgow University, commissioned by the Scottish Government, showed that over 1 in 2 working Spaniels with full tails suffered one or more painful tail injury in one season (56 per cent of all studied dogs).
“The same research also showed 1 in 3 Hunt Point Retrievers suffering the same fate (39 per cent of all studied dogs). That suffering could not continue indefinitely without address.
“This is an evidence-based decision which will ensure these animals can now carry out their duties with the protection they deserve. It allows those best qualified- the vets- to make a decision to remove the tail tip of a working Spaniel or Hunt Point Retriever, within the first few days of life, if they believe this will prevent greater damage and more serious injury in later life.
“The research recommended that removing one third of a working Spaniel or HPR’s tail as a pup would reduce the likelihood of more serious tail damage by 15 to 20 times.”
*The Scottish Gamekeepers Association presented a petition with over 4000 signatures to Scottish Government in 2015 arguing for an overturn of the ban on the shortening of working dogs' tails.


The SGA would like to remind all members and supporters that tomorrow (Wednesday) is the deadline to submit a written response to the Westminster Petitions Committee ahead of an important debate on grouse shooting.
As you may be aware two petitions are currently being considered by the committee, one to ban grouse shooting and one to protect it.
This is your final opportunity to influence the debate that will follow from the written evidence.
If you believe in the economic, environmental and cultural benefits of grouse shooting, ACT NOW.
Follow this link to submit a response (3 questions only). Please note, this link also contains guidance on how to respond.

Finally, if you have not signed the petition to protect grouse shooting, you can do so here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/164851

Monday, 26 September 2016


The SGA would like to encourage all of its members and supporters to help ensure that MPs at Westminster hear both sides of the story in the forthcoming (October) debate regarding grouse shooting.

We want you to do 3 simple things.

As you will know, a petition to ban driven grouse shooting in England and Wales reached the number of signatories for a Parliamentary debate.
Ahead of this debate, the Petitions Committee will allow MPs to hear evidence from both sides on Tuesday 18th October at 2.15pm. This session, involving the petition’s creator, RSPB, Moorland Association, and Countryside Alliance reps can be viewed on Parliament TV on the day.

If you care about grouse shooting and its benefits to the country, these are the three things you can do beforehand.

1/ Sign the petition to Protect Grouse Moors and Grouse Shooting. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/164851

2/ Send a response to the Committee by the deadline of October 5th. 
(this consist of 3 short and simple questions).

3/ Once you have done this, write to your MP and MSP to tell them why you strongly believe - from your own experience- that grouse shooting should be supported on both sides of the border.

If you want to find your local MP, enter your postcode into this site: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

If you want to find your local MSP, enter your postcode into this site: http://www.parliament.scot/help/32438.aspx

PLEASE NOTE: On contacting your MP, you may be told that this issue is a reserved matter pertaining to England and Wales. This is technically true. However, as it is a debate, it is important your MP knows your interests, as a constituent. Please tell them that any changes in England could influence future debate in Scotland and that there is cross-border employment interests in the industry. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Alex Hogg, Chairman, Scottish Gamekeepers Association.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Tick and Lyme disease awareness raising materials (Pilot study - University of the Highlands and Islands

The Rural Health and Wellbeing Team at the University of the Highlands and Islands are piloting some awareness raising materials about ticks and Lyme disease, and have developed a website with information and downloadable resources: www.checkforticks.org.uk.
There is also a bug and tick treasure hunt game (for children and adults!) that can be tested out at Abriachan Forest (Loch Ness) until the end of October.
For more information contact: sarah.morton@uhi.ac.uk or complete the short survey to feedback what you think of the materials: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CheckforTicks1/

Wednesday, 14 September 2016


No certification, no sale of rodenticides from 1 October
From 1 October farmers, gamekeepers, pest controllers and their employees buying professional rodenticide packs for use outdoors will need to show either an approved certificate of competence or document confirming membership of an approved farm assurance scheme.
Without documentation from that date onwards, all sellers including those online are prohibited from completing the sale under the conditions of the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime.
During September, remaining stocks with pre-stewardship labels can still be sold. These are being replaced by stewardship-authorised rodenticides, which carry legally-binding requirements from HSE specifying user certification and compliance with product label conditions of use.
The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRRU) reports to HSE for implementation of the stewardship regime. In addition to new conditions of sale, CRRU UK chairman Dr Alan Buckle says the way rodenticides are used must change if we are to reduce the occurrence of residues in wildlife.
"For many years it was thought best practice to set out bait points on farms, shooting estates and around rural premises, then keep them permanently topped up with rodenticide," he says. "We now believe this practice is responsible, at least in part, for the contamination of wildlife that we now see so widely in the UK."
CRRU UK has recently published new guidelines about safer and effective alternatives to permanent baiting, when it may be justified and, if it is, how to do it most safely.

*The SGA is pleased to announce that the 1000th gamekeeper to take the rodenticide course run for rat control by SGA and other rural organisations has just been recorded.

Monday, 5 September 2016


The SGA is bringing members' attention to an important consultation which could have a significant impact on how they go about their jobs in land management.
The following consultation, with a deadline of September 30th, contains sections on how deer and grouse moors are to be managed within the Cairngorms National Park.
Please take the time to complete the consultation. See here: http://cairngorms.co.uk/working-partnership/consultations/thebig9/ and ensure Park officials hear a balanced view of how land is managed in the area.


The SGA recently held constructive discussions with SNH about wild boar in Scotland.
In order to help SNH accurately map the distribution of boar in Scotland, we are encouraging members to report any sightings or provide cull returns.
Having the best available information regarding populations will help assess the spread of the species and any possible steps which might be undertaken to control numbers.

There are three methods by which SGA members can assist.

1/ Submit casual sightings through the irecord web page: http://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record

2/ An app to record sightings can be downloaded to a phone from this web page http://www.mammal.org.uk/science-research/record-submission/
Both steps 1 and 2 mean the records are stored to the National Biodiversity Network and members can see the records of their sightings, and all others, here.

3/ Members can also email sightings to the SEARS web page by mailing info@sears.scotland.gsi.uk 
To do so, the following information will be required: 

Location, including a description and grid reference if possible
Number of adult and young boar seen
Any additional information that may be of use.

We encourage all members to get involved if they see any wild boar in the countryside.

Friday, 2 September 2016


Pic: New beginnings: New tree growing on mounded soil. SGA members and others will be interested in the newly announced Scottish Government consultation on the future of forestry in Scotland. If this is of interest, you can find out more and complete the consultation by 9th November 2016.
See the link, here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Scotland-s-Forests-29bf.aspx 

Thursday, 1 September 2016


All members of the SGA Fishing Group are being invited to send a response to the 28 day consultation on the process for assessing salmon conservation status of rivers for 2017.
This is an important issue for all group members, as has been indicated, so please take the opportunity to help shape the outcome and ensure the measures strike the right balance.
The SGA Fishing Group will also be sending a group response so please email your input to info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk or post to the private group Facebook page.
Details of the relevant Scottish Government documents can be found here: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/fishreform/licence/status/limits

The consultation closes on 29th September 2016.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Office Hours

The SGA Office will be closed for the Public Holidays on Monday 29th August, Monday 5th September and Monday 3rd October.  If you require anything urgently then please call and the phones will be transferred to the office managers mobile.