RSPB Scotland has responded to the announcement that Environment Minister Aileen McLeod has accepted recommendations from the wildlife crime penalties review group to introduce tough new maximum penalties for those who commit crimes against wildlife.
Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: "Today's announcement from the Scottish Government on tough new maximum penalties for those who commit crimes against wildlife is a welcome step forward. Scotland has some of the strongest wildlife legislation in the UK but, ultimately, we need wildlife crime to be seen as completely unacceptable so that gamekeepers, landowners and countryside bodies do not tolerate it or turn a blind eye when they suspect it.
"Sport shooting bodies that are constantly seeking to reduce the safeguards afforded to highly protected species undermine the efforts to stamp out these crimes. The Scottish Government has said it will now bring together a list of relevant offences these changes will apply to and RSPB Scotland looks forward to working with the Government to implement these measures."
To view a copy of RSPB Scotland's 20 year review of the illegal killing of birds of prey in Scotland, visit: https://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/illegal-killing_tcm9-411686.pdf
The Scottish Government press release on this announcement can be found at: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Tackling-wildlife-crime-22ed.aspx