MSPs clash over how culpable landowners and estate managers are for recent spate of apparently deliberate raptor poisonings
By Ben Riley-Smith, Scottish Political Reporter
5:59AM BST 07 May 2014
A row over the culpability of Scottish landowners for "horrendous" wildlife crime has broke out in Holyrood as MSPs debated a recent spate of raptor poisonings.
Claire Baker, a Labour MSP, pointed the finger at estate management teams, saying there were elements that believed such actions against birds of prey were both "acceptable" and "necessary".
But Alex Ferguson, a Tory MSP, warned against attempts to turn the problem into an "us and them" issue, suggesting wildlife groups were "whipping up" hostility towards landowners and gamekeepers.
Scottish Land & Estates, which represents the country's landowners, later released a statement saying it was "too simple" to blame recent incidents on land management.
The dispute came as MSPs united in their condemnation of recent raptor poisonings during a Holyrood debate on how best to tackle the problem.