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Cash before Nature

Socialist Courier has reported how the huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ lobby has had a devastating effect on Scotland’s natural wild-life by slaughtering any threat to their grouse. It now transpires that they are also guilty of over-stocking deer herds to the point that they and the environment suffer.

Scotland’s sporting estates must be forced to cull thousands of deer, the country’s most powerful environmental groups have told MSPs. Deer numbers had spiralled and they were damaging the country’s moorland, peatland and “fragile populations” of other native species like capercaillie. The group, the membership of which includes the National Trust for Scotland, RSPB Scotland and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said a voluntary code of conduct has failed to tackle the scourge. But the group suggested that landowners were unwilling to take action because the value of Highland sporting estates is partly based on “the number of sporting stags available to shoot”.

The group argued e…

Killing nature for profits

Mountain hares are facing extinction in large parts of the Scottish Highlands because landowners are killing thousands of them every year in order to protect the grouse shooting industry, wildlife experts have warned. The distinctive mammals are being shot and snared by gamekeepers on grouse moors due to fears that ticks carried by hares spread a viral disease, which can be fatal to grouse. However, experts have poured doubt on claims that killing hares protects grouse.

“A preventable catastrophe has befallen the mountain hare,” said Dr Adam Watson, a veteran mountain ecologist. “This is a national scandal.” This was “due to deliberate efforts by estates to eradicate them,” he said. “Gamekeepers on several estates have told me that they were instructed to reduce hare numbers and to try to eradicate them.”

Watson condemned the government’s wildlife conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), for failing to protect mountain hares under European law. “SNH has known what has be…