I cannot let Graeme Rose’s article (Leopard, October) pass without comment. He makes serious allegations about illegal persecution which I find rather unnecessary.
While we all acknowledge that hen harriers are attractive birds, they are not being systematically culled as Graeme would suggest. I spent a day on an Angus moor in September shooting grouse and was treated to the sight of a harrier working the ground for an hour or two. We had a successful day and the harrier was no trouble.
What is more, my friends and I were generating cash for the estate in question from the shooting, thereby allowing the employment of a gamekeeper who has created a wonderfully diverse area of countryside where biodiversity flourishes.
Grouse and birds of prey can live together. Take away the keepers and birds of prey – by their very nature – will wipe out populations of game and songbirds in no time.
I find it distateful to suggest that every estate with grouse shooting interests is intent on killing every bird of prey. The suggestion that every upland manager is guilty is not only wrong, but an insult to the hard-working men and women whose work leads to a countryside where the public can see wildlife at its best. Take them away and you soon see a desert; no song birds, no game birds, and no birds of prey because there is nothing for them to predate.
The notion that because no harrier is seen in the sky, the person managing the land below has got rid of it shows a sad ignorance of the facts. Using emotive language to imply guilt before proof is counterproductive.
A bit more knowledge and understanding would go a long way.
Andrew Dingwall-Fordyce, Brucklay Estate, Peterhead.