Friday, 23 March 2018

SGA STATEMENT: GOLDEN EAGLE, PENTLANDS


Statement from The Scottish Gamekeepers Association regarding statement issued today (March 23rd) by Chris Packham on missing eagle near Edinburgh.

A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “The SGA repeats its previous message. If you know anything contact the only authority able to deal with such information, the Police.
“If persecution is at play, we condemn that. If this is found to be anything to do with any of our members- and we have no reason whatsoever to believe it is- they will be removed from our organisation.
“We will not, however, be involved in more media trials. If everyone’s job is to lead wildlife crime to court, and we were led to believe it is, then this case has made a total mockery of that objective and the process by which we investigate wildlife crime in Scotland. 
“Piecemeal presentations of evidence to Police by a collective of individuals and groups campaigning together to legislate against grouse shooting, while offering a running commentary in the media on live police investigations, is nothing other than shambolic. We have sympathy with authorities trying to establish criminality.
“Given the public interest generated by the campaigners, all the evidence in this case should be presented in the open so the truth can be established and, if we are to learn lessons, a system must be introduced whereby data from satellite tags can be monitored in future by independent authorities.
“The SGA has not joined in with theorising on blogs or private social media accounts.
“What we do know is that this satellite tag never once pinged on the grouse moor implicated but instead signalled in woodland some distance from a piece of moorland which hosted no commercial grouse shooting in 2017. The wood is close to one of the biggest public car parks in the Pentland Hills Regional Park. In short, there is no more evidence to implicate that landholding, or those who work there, than any other in the surrounding area or any other visitors to the park which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.
“If anyone was intent in causing harm to this bird then, according to the narrative presented, they would have done so on a weekend morning in one of the busiest public areas close to Edinburgh. Someone must have seen that, therefore, and should contact the Police. 
“The fact SNH published a paper on satellite tagged eagles between 2004-2016 has nothing to do with any case happening years later, in 2018.

“To suggest otherwise is to institutionalise prejudice against a community of people: Scotland’s gamekeepers. We will not tolerate this and are extremely disappointed and angry that this attitude now appears to be at large within some sections of our parliament.”