RAPTORS are once again in the news, with sea eagle predation across the Western Isles and Highland proving to be a real blight on the rural economy of those regions. And they are moving outwards from their strongholds at a rate of knots.

While we can have every sympathy for preserving the rights of wild animals, the sea eagle is different as it is a relatively recent re-introduction. Many of those whose businesses have been murdered by livestock losses will understand just why these massive killing machines were hunted to extinction many years ago.

That is not something which anyone, in these more enlightened days, would condone. But, there must be a collective responsibility – with the emphasis on the word 'responsibility' – from those stakeholders who have the best interests of the more remote areas of Scotland at heart to come up with a plan which will allow the co-existence of the wild creatures and those who make a living from the land.

Because of the fear of retribution from desktop nature warriors, whose majority of experience comes from single issue propagandists, like Chris Packham, many of those in this circle with the ability to manage change will not use the word 'cull'. But this needs to be addressed.

We have beavers impacting on some of Scotland's best farmland; we have badgers and foxes decimating ground-nesting bird populations; and we have aerial raptors the size of barn doors which can only end in a hierarchical devastation of lesser species. What happens, then – they start eating each other.

So, it's hypocritical in the extreme to welcome with open arms a spend of £8m – yes £8m – to rid the Orkneys of stoats, while sea eagles roam with impunity. If we can accept the destruction of stoats for a greater good – of whose making? – then why can we not accept that sea eagles, buzzards, beavers, foxes and badgers need to be controlled too?

We do not live in an area large enough to sustain an ecology which can evolve into its natural kilter – especially when the likes of sea eagles can cover 100s of square miles of territory, or badgers can roam up to 20 miles in one night. We have human impact in most areas of Scotland and to remove our rights to work and make a living where generations have done so before, in favour of the questionable rights of animals, is fatuous.

All could live in harmony, but it is time that those organisations which are charged with the responsibility of the countryside and its management, actually acknowledge the fact that 'management' might include a well-thought out control plan to encourage sustainable and healthy stocks of all animals in the eco system. The animals cannot do this alone.