Saturday, November 01, 2008


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.


Chris Gale said...

I totally agree it is shameful.
Sadly our own party supports snaring in England and does not legislate against it;it also supports the shooting industry, again deeply shameful.
We can rightly condemn the SNP for cosying up to the bloodsports lobby but we must also ask when the Labour leadership here in England will stop doing the same..

Angry Steve said...

Deer and Badgers and Wildcats don't use the same runs as foxes, and a someone who has a good knowledge of the land will be able to tell the runs apart...

The damage that foxes do to livestock needs to be controlled, unless you are telling us that the fox should be allowed to run free with no natural predators.

Do you, or do you not support the farming industry in Scotland?

Anonymous said...

Snaring a deer, in addition to requiring a snare big enough to capture a Kelly,is known as poaching and can attract transportation to the colonies. Not sure about foxes, but badgers enjoy even greater protection than a Labour politician on the take.

To borrow a phrase, you're clutching at straws young man.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Chris Gale 10.03 02 11 0

I agree, I have spoken out many times about our lack of determination when it comes to dealing with cruelty to animals, we need to deal with it once for all, no matter what the country or gun lobby say, it’s barbaric and we should stand up to them.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Angry Steve) 17:33

Snares kill all sorts of wildlife including foxes. The damage that foxes do is grossly exaggerated by those who want to hunt and kill them for fun.
I wasn’t aware the farming industry needed my support, I’ve never really thought about it, what should I do to support them ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 17:50
There is one thing we can all agree on, no one is ever going to “capture” you, you are far too well hidden aren’t you.

Jackart said...

What about allowing the snaring of overweight Labour councillors?

Angry Steve said...

If you know your land, you know the runs used by foxes, and if you lay snares there, you are more likely to catch and kill foxes than other wildlife. Of course, it's not 100% but then life isn't...

The damage done by foxes may be exaggerated by some. I for one have seen 8 dead lambs being pulled out of a foxes den - one only a day old, with a ewe at the foot of the hill bleating for her lamb.

Farming needs some level of support to allow farmers to produce a high yield of food. This is more the case in this world where trendy ideals like "locally produced" and "low food miles" are up there with organic and so on - even if it's not for the right reasons, it's still a good thing to support local business, local industry...

There is a lot of regulation (mostly passed by the EU) which causes farmers to be unable to use their land in the most effective way. It would certainly be a good thing to wean farmers off the subsidies, and have the land produce!

I don't know if your ward contains farmland - if so, talk to the farmers - they'll know far better than I what they need!

Unknown said...

I saw a documentary a while ago about a landowner in the Highlands trying to reintroduce native species which had been wiped out back into the area. I think these included things like wild boar, wolves and elk (or some sort of big deer-type thing anyway). The idea is to restore the ecosystem to its natural state.

Lots of people objected because a large area needed to be fenced off in order to do this, which infringed their right to roam. What do you make of the conflict there? It's a really interesting clash, I think.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Is your medication working again ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Angry Steve) 10:24
“with a ewe at the foot of the hill bleating for her lamb”

If only you could have saved it you could have had it for Sunday lunch.

I don’t know why you feel it necessary to bore us with your impersonation of Bill Oddie, it’s really quite simple, snaring is a vicious barbarous practice, like fox hunting, mainly carried out by stunted people who like inflicting pain on defenceless animals.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(The) 12:01

When these creatures were roaming the highlands there were no farms with sheep and cattle so it would not be possible to introduce them without considering the farmers.

That would mean fencing but, they have all manner of wild and dangerous creatures in other countries, where farms and people who demand the right to roam get along OK. Obviously I would ban hunting though.

Unknown said...

From what I recall, the proposed scheme was on land privately owned by an estate, so fenced off it wouldn't trouble anyone. That was the problem though: a few people thought it infringed the right to access all of the highlands enshrined in law.

I'm also pretty sure no one suggested hunting anything, other than perhaps culling populations which grew out of proportion as the natural balances were still being sought. A bit like the annual deer cull.

Something similar was tried in Argentina, I think, with lots of success. I'd be keen to see it happen in Britain too. It'd be an exciting experiment!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(The) 15.09
I meant fencing off the farms where necessary and let the ramblers fend for themselves as they do in other countries.

I would like to see wild life introduced and species protected, there are many wild creatures that do not have any natural predators to threaten them, only man, which I think is mind bogglingly stupid.