News In Focus
Minister calls for poisoning deterrent to remain in place
The Scottish Government has joined Alyn Smith MEP in calling on the European Union to ensure that a 'valuable weapon' in the fight against wildlife crime is not lost.
At present, landowners and farmers need to comply with Article 8 of the Birds Directive, which bans the use of poisons on birds if they wish to receive funding under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The EU is proposing to end the link between Article 8 and CAP payments. The RSPB Scotland investigated 37 cases of raptor poisoning last year.
Environment Minister Michael Russell said: "It is deeply disappointing to hear that such an important tool in the flight against wildlife crime could be dropped.
"Scottish birds have been the victims of a number of disgraceful incidents of poisoning in the last few years, including a golden eagle in the Borders and a sea eagle in Tayside.
"Following a recent wide-ranging review of the way wildlife crimes are investigated and prosecuted in Scotland, I expect to see more cases brought to the courts in the future.
"However, it cannot be denied that the loss of a significant amount of funding from Europe is a huge disincentive to carrying out such disgraceful acts.
"I call upon the EU to recognise the vital role that cross compliance and Article 8 play in keeping our magnificent birds of prey safe from harm."
Alyn Smith MEP also said: "While the Commission proposals to simplify and streamline regulation are welcome, if the effect of the changes is to deprive the Scottish Government of a useful tool in the fight against wildlife crime then I am keen to do what I can to retain it.”