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Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill progresses through Committee sessions

The Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill continues to progress through the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee sessions where evidence is given by industry experts and animal rights organisations. The most recent session was on Wednesday 21 June and the Committee heard from organisations including the Scottish Land and Estates and the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. The session also had the benefit of hearing from Detective Sergeant David Lynn from Police Scotland and Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Bruce Farquharson from The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.



Given the disappointing nature of the detail within the Bill, and the fact it goes much further than just attempting to tackle raptor persecution, it was a positive session with many notable comments from those in a senior advisory position. The Law Society of Scotland agreed that “a different level of fairness is being applied” when asked about the proposed structure for the licensing of taking grouse, compared with any licence that may be granted for other rural operations. Robbie Kernahan from NatureScot stated that they “would prefer to see a little more flexibility in the Bill”, which should be a positive step but may allow NatureScot more room to manoeuvre around the granting or revoking of a licence.

The proposal of the grant of additional powers to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) came under attack by a number of organisations and Police Scotland stated that The SSPCA could even hinder an investigation. They went on to point out that they were unsure that a charity with open bias against some legal land management practices should be allowed to investigate offences any more than they are able to now. 

Scottish Fire and Rescue hailed the experience and equipment of land managers when fighting wildfires as “invaluable” and confirmed that the vast majority of wildfires are not connected to controlled burns by practitioners.

The Scottish Countryside Alliance will be responding to the committee in relation to this session, and the final session to follow on 28 June where The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands will once again be giving evidence. This, and previous sessions, can be viewed here.

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