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SCA response to the wildlife crime penalties review group report

The Scottish Countryside Alliance has responded to the report of wildlife crime penalities review group, commissioned by the Scottish Government, which was published today.

Jamie Stewart, director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance said: “As an active member of PAW Scotland the Scottish Countryside Alliance welcomes the wildlife crime penalties review group report and particularly the ministerial comment acknowledging the reputation of Scotland’s country sports sector and the work carried out to reduce criminal act against wildlife. 

“Scotland has some of the best wildlife protection laws in Europe and has a robust legal framework that protects birds of prey and their nests, including vicarious liability provisions and the most recent restrictions on the use of General Licences. We do not believe that the introduction of emotive personal victim statements will aid consistency of sentencing and therefore warrant inclusion in this type of crime.

“Whilst we agree that the outdated, barbaric and criminal practices of a few may put at risk the conservation status of some of our most magnificent wildlife and must be eradicated, we must also address the causes that drive individuals to such activities. When a species reaches an imbalance and impacts on another the general rationale is to rectify that imbalance; demonstrable in the Scottish Government’s thoughts on deer control. The same rationale needs to be applied across species allowing for fair access and application to the legal framework that currently exists.

“We also note that the Review Group did not even think it necessary to consult the public on the issue of fox hunting, which confirms the findings of the Scottish Government Wildlife Crime review that there is a very low incidence of complaint and public concern about the operation of gun packs in Scotland.”

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