Sir, Recently, there have been many well written articles in the media, regarding top predators and raptors, most especially the sea eagle causing serious damage to flocks of sheep and killing many young defenceless lambs.

If the victim lambs are not eaten in situ, on the ground, the eagle can carry their prey 6-7 miles to their eyrie, leaving farmers and crofters in complete despair, and suffering the mental and financial hardship and unable to change the status quo. The Scottish Government must act, communicate better with farmers and crofters while not being misled by the modern conservationists eg, RSPB and others.

Government needs to question why these organizations are using vast quantities of public monies, Lottery and charity funds on projects, and for whose benefit? With many more species on the endangered list, these organizations are failing the countryside by their current behaviours and interference. Waders, ground nesting birds and songbird numbers continue to fall, with even the golden eagle (one of the Scottish Highlands most iconic birds) currently being displaced or killed by the sea eagle.

It seems to me that the ferocious badger has more rights than a homeless person in today’s society. Modern Conservation groups continue to misunderstand field sports, gamekeepers and farming practices, each of which have very little to do with the decline of many species now on the endangered list. These conservationists must begin to realise that there are an increasingly dangerous number of raptors and predators, which are being unnecessarily protected, so dismantling the natural ecosystem.

These top predators and raptors were controlled and taken out for a very good reasons generations ago. It was to protect the more vulnerable species of small mammals and birds. These same reasons still stand today. The vast sums of money spent on many of these projects by conservation organizations would have been better invested in essential services within rural communities, rather than add to the already fragile mental and financial health status of farmers and crofters.

Similarly, many of our wildlife species would have a far greater chance of survival, but for the interference of these organizations. The countryside is not a play area for conservationists to do as they wish. It is a working and functioning countryside, like a factory floor, producing food, clean water and air for the nation. In doing so, these same farmers, crofters, land managers and their employees ensure the countryside is an attractive arena for everyone to reside, work and visit. Our local, national and international tourism sectors cannot thrive unless we stop the damage being inflicted by predator protectionism.

Patrick Sleigh

NFUS Chairman North East Environmental Land use Committee

West Fingask