The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has commended the Scottish Parliament for passing sensible and functional legislation aimed at protecting Scotland’s wildlife.
Under the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill outdated game licences have been abolished, archaic poaching laws have been reformed and the practice of catching up game birds for breeding stock has been legally recognised.
Vicarious liability, which will make the perpetrators of persistent raptor persecution accountable for the actions of their employees, is a measured and targeted approach to addressing wildlife crime.
Snaring remains a legal practice in spite of an attempt to ban it. However further regulations have been brought in to ensure best practice. These include the use of tags and record keeping, as well as training and accreditation.
Several amendments which would have restricted shooting by introducing the power to remove shooting rights have been defeated. A proposal to transfer some police powers to other agencies, such as the Scottish SPCA, was withdrawn.
BASC Scotland’s Nicolle Upton said: “BASC Scotland has been working tirelessly to ensure that this legislation would benefit shooting and gamekeeping. Unreasonable proposals to restrict deer stalking were dealt with at the consultation stage and the Bill as introduced was welcomed by shooters. The Bill has been a useful vehicle which has given MSPs the opportunity to see land management activities such as snaring in practice and to be briefed in depth on how the countryside actually works. As a result we have achieved something both sensible and workable."