I am an old animal welfare campaigner and conservationist of species and habitats. That has meant campaigning against blood sports and for the protection of endangered species throughout the world. Also, to protect natural forests and the biodiversity found therein. My friends and I own land in Scotland as nature reserves for bird and insect life. However, I am against the re-introduction of species once found here, such as Red Kites, Fish Eagles, Beavers, Lynx and whatever else may be in the pipeline that will cause controversy. Being a subscriber to Raptor Persecution Scotland, I am saddened by the slaughter of our Birds of Prey, and other wild life that may encroach on game birds.
With regard to the Beaver, we have had a good welcome in Knapdale, but elsewhere (Tayside), we have them shot by landowners. As an animal welfarist, I lament this killing and it could have been avoided if the reintroduction enthusiasts had thought of persecution of these animals first. The same applies to adding other birds of prey on top of the ones we have already, and under much threat as it is. Not until we have a full acceptance from shooting estates and landowners, should any creature be reintroduced into an unwelcome Scotland. Innocent birds and mammals are being killed, and some with much suffering, just to please a whim of a group of deluded enthusiasts, in defiance of common sense. If the Lynx is reintroduced, my fear will be for their frequent deaths on our roads, and in snares and poisons set by gamekeepers. Scotland may have picture postcard scenery, but it is far from what it was in times of large forests with a great diversity of life therein. Despite the valiant attempts to restore areas with native woodlands, it will take a long time rebuilding what has been lost. To that end, I support the John Muir and Scottish Wildlife Trusts along with the RSPB and Woodland Trust. Butterfly Conservation, Buglife and Plantlife, are together entering into agreements with landowners to save habitats for endangered insect and plant species. In addition, I support various animal welfare groups to ensure the humane treatment of animals in all aspects of how humans use them as pets or as farm animals, and existing in zoos and circuses.
We need a coming together of all interests in a better way than hitherto, with a clear purpose to improve the welfare of animals, and to raise the quality of management of the Scottish landscape, free of the persecution of its wildlife. Meantime, let us walk before we can run, and not subject any more birds or animals to being shot, poisoned, snared or whatever. Changing mindset of those in control of the landscape is a priority, and educating our politicians as to the importance of enhancing the natural world.