One of the things that Scots. have which is the envy of the rest of Britain is our natural countryside, when you move north it becomes wild and beautiful, there are areas such as the Lakes in England and the Mountainous parts of Donegal in Ireland which are also lovely but, for the truly spectacular the highlands of Scotland is the place.
Added to that blessing is the wild life which is there and can’t be found anywhere else in Britain in such numbers, Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, Ospreys, Pine Martins, Wildcats, foxes and deer etc. make Scotland a wildlife haven. In past years I have roamed around some of these areas, mainly the Cairngorms and the Spey Valley. Over the years I have been lucky to see most of these creatures in the wild, even a Wildcat once and strangely it was not up north it was on the moors above the Glennifer Braes in the dead of winter when the roads and fields merged into one because of the deep snow, a total white out.
A workmate and I were sent out to trace the position of a pipeline using electronic location devices and at one point we became conscious of a creature sitting about fifty yards away like a statue looking at us, we both froze and started to whisper, “do you see that? it’s not a dog, it’s not a fox or a cat” having seen Wildcats in captivity and seeing it’s distinctive size, shape and above all it’s ears which taper upwards into long thin points I whispered “it’s a Wildcat” we stood looking at it in wonder, it stared back motionless, clearly the boss, it is a very rare sight indeed, we moved first and it vanished in a flash into the deep snow.
Recently the Scottish Govt. had a chance to strike a blow for such creatures and wildlife in general by imposing a ban on the cruel practice of snaring wild animals, this is a barbaric practice and causes animals to suffer a lingering agonising death, animals have been known to chew off their own paws which have been caught in snares to escape. Environment Minister Mike Russell refused the calls for a ban from SNP members at their conference; he said he “did not want to alienate those working in the countryside” meanwhile foxes, badgers and deer are dying in these hideous contraptions, this was a shameful piece of cowardice by Russell, this was nothing more than the SNP backing down before the landed gentry. Some people like killing animals for fun and they are not about to give this up lightly, like the Fox Hunters they will fight to preserve what they call “country ways” this means killing and torturing creatures for fun and can not be justified. Russell should be replaced with someone with a backbone.
A statistic emerged stating that 85% of vets were opposed to snaring animals, this is a high number but, it leaves me very uneasy to think that there are Vets working in Scotland who are not opposed to what is a cruel and vicious way to treat wild animals, what kind of Vets are they ? My understanding is that a majority of delegates were clearly in favour of a ban which is of course good but, they did not carry out their intention when it came to a vote which is shameful, why go to conference if you are only going to be browbeaten by the executive, the same happened over the quite ludicrous ban on selling alcohol to under 21’s the platform won because the delegates are cowards.
Innocent, beautiful wild animals will continue to suffer at the hands of man because the SNP members suffered a failure of nerve, wild animals have no voice, all they do is provide us with a sense of wonder at their existence and occasionally allow us to have a glimpse of them like the Wildcat.
I urge the SNP members to revisit this issue, rectify this ignominy and bring in the ban.