RE-WILDING has become a noisy topic both on-line and in the national press, but there is a temptation to argue that it's very much a minority that is seeking to drive change.

For want of a better expression, it would appear that the Great British (Scottish) public don't give a monkeys about beavers, sea eagles and lynx. Yes, they would probably like to see them on their way to littering our countryside, but it cannot be argued that their life would be immeasurably worse off without them.

So, it's nice to see that there is more of a balance in the stakeholder input into curbing so-called rogue individual birds by the sea eagle management scheme. It's now readily accepted that some birds do severe damage to livestock in certain areas and equally that farmers accept their managed right to be in their locale. The key is in the word 'managed'.

It's a thorny and potentially politicised subject that will probably not raise its head above the parapet until after the Scottish elections later this year, but there is a growing feeling that management will, indeed, mean that in some areas a cull will have to take place.

Some argue that this should involve relocation as being an option, instead of a lethal solution. But, in the same way the ludicrous notion that not producing beef in Scotland will save the planet thus seeing production 'exported', then sending difficult birds to new locations will only transpose the problem.

It's also been hinted that beavers should not be shot – as they are allowed to be under licence at the moment – but re-located instead.

We have a ready-made solution. Send them to Knapdale, in Argyll, where the original and sanctioned re-wilding project seems to need 'topping up' on a regular basis as they keep disappearing. It seems that they don't like the wild west!


The production of Covid-19 vaccines is not just a game-changer for the restrictions we currently face, but it is also potentially a way forward for those who champion gene editing of farm-scale crops.

For these new vaccines have, indeed, been produced by gene-editing using CRISPR techniques, in much the same way that scientists can manipulate, or edit the make-up of important food crops to make them more pest, disease and drought resistant.

It's been a subtle point taken up by Defra's George Eustice, who wants the UK to embrace the technology.

While Scotland, on the face of it, remains opposed to any form of GM, including gene editing, this is as much a political move to keep in line with aspirations of independence and thus a resumption of EU membership, than any real concerns for food safety. However, this may radically change if the EU was to relax its rules in a forthcoming debate on the subject.

Which all means that the mountain of Scottish expertise in this area might not actually be lost to its host nation.