Statements on wildlife crime allegations

A BBC Scotland documentary has heard calls from some Scottish landowners to be allowed to kill some protected birds of prey.

They argue the measure would protect valuable stocks of grouse and other game birds on sporting estates.

In the programme, 'Fair Game? Scotland's Sporting Estates', reporter David Miller visits one shooting estate and uncovers dead buzzards and some snares.

These are the responses from the companies that manage the land.

Fountains Forestry

"I confirm that Glendowran Forest is managed by Fountains Forestry Ltd on behalf of private owners. We have discussed the BBC's research findings with the owners and they have asked us to reply on their behalf.

"Glendowran is a commercial forest and deer stalking is let on an annual basis, subject to a detailed agreement and strict conditions around provision of firearms certification, qualifications and insurances.

"One of the terms of the agreement proscribes the use of snares by the sporting tenants and indeed the snaring of foxes is of no consequence to those engaged in deer stalking, but we understand that it is a common practice in connection with game bird management.

"If a stink pit has been found in Glendowran Forest, it has been put there illegally by third parties without the knowledge or permission of the owners or Fountains Forestry as managers.

"Whilst we understand that it is not illegal to create a stink pit, this is not an activity that either, we as managers of Glendowran Forest or the stalking tenants would want to see.

"Should we ever find snares as part of our management inspections, we will remove them as a matter of course."

Leadhills Sporting Limited

"New tenants and a new management team have been in place at Leadhills since 2008 and they strive to ensure best land management practice.

"We have a clear policy that wildlife crime will not be tolerated.

"This commitment resulted in the instant termination of employment of a gamekeeper who broke the law and any suspicious wildlife incident is reported by the management team to the police, with whom they have a good working relationship.

"There is no current police investigation into any allegations of wildlife crime at Leadhills and there is constant disruption and antagonism from so-called animal rights activists whom we have had to report to the police for illegally damaging or interfering with hundreds of snares and traps."

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