Sir, – According to Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, 83% of a low key survey of less than 600 respondents, constitutes overwhelming support. I say less than 600, because they claimed more than 500, but not as many as 600.

There are almost 20,000 farm businesses in Scotland in receipt of single farm payment and one has to wonder how low key were the requests for views concerning the reintroduction of beavers. In any case, the questions probably confined themselves to the experimental introduction of a few carefully monitored beavers in Argyll.

It remains the case that the many beavers now detected over large parts of Perthshire and beyond were illegally introduced by people who have not been publicly identified.

The NFUS claims to be co-operating with SNH and the Scottish Government on mitigation measures. It would be easy to conclude that although these releases were illegal and are causing provable damage to many rural businesses, the Scottish Government and their tame quango, SNH, really want this introduction, or they would have taken firm action to limit numbers of beaver whilst these numbers were low.

Could the NFUS not demand to know, under freedom of information, how many beavers SNH had actually killed over the last five years, and how much time and money had been spent investigating who had done the illegal releasing.

Given that the numbers in the Tay catchment are now measured in hundreds, the number actually released to start the process off must have been more than a couple of pairs. You cannot just pop a few beavers into your carry-on luggage on a commercial flight. This must have been quite an operation to smuggle these animals safely into Scotland.

It may well be possible to identify where in Europe they originated from their DNA, but if SNH or the police, are not looking, or wanting to find out, Scottish farmers and foresters are going to be burdened with these destructive rodents because the urban majority think they are cute.

Wouldn’t it be nice if these ‘rewilders’ could sort out the mess from other invasions like grey squirrels and giant hogweed, before imposing their ignorant tastes on others. In the piece that Landward did on the topic, few farmers would appear because of the threat from vigilantes, but the one who did appear put his mitigation cost at present at £4000 per annum.

Assuming that his land only has a small fraction of the beaver population – and he claimed that the beavers ignore humane types of trap – a full compensation scheme for affected farmers and foresters will not be long in exceeding £1m per annum and rising. With all the other things government would prefer to fund for popularity reasons, it’s going to be an uphill battle – again.

Sandy Henderson

Faulds Farm, Dunblane.