We had a great time at STV on Friday night on "The Hour". Young Ross did really well, and the birds were very well behaved. Michelle and Stephen made us very welcome, and put us at ease. The whole point of the appearance was to provide a bit of visual aid to the news of the submission of a petition to the Scottish Parliament by the R.S.P.B., asking for stronger punishment for those found guilty of crimes against Birds of Prey.
There are a few mindless morons who will inflict harm on animals and birds, just to see the suffering, or for spite. Those individuals usually use direct means, rifles, or air-guns. There are those who perceive Birds of Prey as a threat to their livelihood, or responsible for demise of animals or birds in their care. Those individuals are the ones likely to use poisoning
That said, we have to put things in perspective. Unfortunately, our justice system is non-existent, for any crime. There are no longer any deterrents in place. The penalties available to the authorities for wildlife crime, are, up to six months in jail, and fines up to £5,000. To my knowledge, no one has ever been jailed. The fines are minimal, or, community service. If you start at the top with the most horrific crimes, and work down to the bottom and wildlife crime, (I say the bottom, because that is where it is). Then you look at the punishment allotted to each crime, the authorities have nothing left to dish out at the bottom. If the Scottish Parliament decided to jump on the bandwagon, and instruct the authorities to impose severe penalties, it would be viewed as rediculous.
An example. An individual, found guilty of deliberately poisoning a Buzzard, is expelled from the Gamekeepers' Association, fined £1,000, and jailed for 3 months. Justified ? On the other hand, a parent sees their child knocked down and killed by a speeding driver losing control of his car. Punishment, the driver loses their licence, is fined £1,000, and jailed for 3 months. What does that parent think ?
So, why doesn't the Scottish Parliament start at the bottom, apply the penalties, and work to the top. Then, we might have sufficient deterrents in place to reduce all crime. Life for murder would mean life, the rest of their natural.
Enough of a rant, enough said, but how many will read this, and will it make any difference ?