Speaking following the trial and conviction of gamekeeper George Mutch, a Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said:
“Mr Mutch’s membership of the SGA has been in suspension for some time, until the outcome of the case was known. Now that it is, he will no longer be a member of the SGA.
This is the 5th time in 3 years the SGA has suspended memberships after individuals were proven in court to have committed a wildlife crime.
This is consistent with the SGA’s clear stance that we will not condone anyone taking the law into their own hands.”
“On the separate, theoretical, issue of the use of covert video evidence, it is clear to us that it should not be acceptable for individuals from one particular profession to be under surveillance in their place of work, without their knowledge, and to have their right to liberty and privacy from such encroachment, removed.
If this is to be the direction of travel, it is not right for Scottish Government to deny people whose livelihoods come under pressure due to the activity of certain species or animals, recourse to a legal solution to solve that conflict.
Currently, there are no legal or scientific means by which people can protect their investments or jobs in situations exacerbated by conflicts with species. Scottish Government has never granted anyone from the game industry a licence to protect investments, which they have the power to do, although it does grant licences routinely to other industries. This, in our view, is a
barrier to justice and does nothing to prevent wildlife crime.
In a society supposedly enlightened when it comes to tackling this issue, we believe this is untenable and we will be seeking talks with Scottish Government so that this anomaly is finally closed, removing once and for all the rationale for people to commit wildlife crime.”