Wildlife management: consultation analysis

This report presents the key themes to emerge from our consultation on wildlife management in Scotland 2022.

1. Introduction


This report presents analysis of responses to a public consultation on Wildlife Management in Scotland.

The consultation sought views on a range of topics related to wildlife management, with sections covering grouse moor licensing, muirburn and matters relating to the use of traps and snares. The purpose of the proposals is to address raptor persecution and ensure that the management of grouse moors and related activities are undertaken in an environmentally sustainable and welfare-conscious manner.

The Wildlife Management (Grouse) Bill will implement the recommendations of the independent review of grouse moor management, set out in 'the Werritty Report' and introduce licensing for grouse moors. It will also:

  • Introduce licensing and further restrictions on muirburn on non-peatland;
  • Further restrict muirburn on peatland;
  • Ban the use of glue traps;
  • Introduce requirements for the use of wildlife traps;

It may also:

  • Implement the recommendations of the recent statutory snaring review or introduce further restrictions on the use of snares.

The consultation

The consultation opened on 26 October 2022 and closed on 14 December 2022. It asked 38 questions. The consultation paper is available here on the Scottish Government's website.

Profile of responses

In total 4,863 standard responses were received, of which 129 were from groups or organisations and 4,734 from individual members of the public.

Respondents were asked to identify whether they were responding as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation and, if the latter, to either choose one of six predetermined groups that best characterised their organisation, or to specify another group. The groups set out in the consultation paper were:

  • Animal welfare;
  • Land management, including representative bodies;
  • Sporting organisation, including representative bodies;
  • Conservation, including representative bodies;
  • Pest control, including representative bodies;
  • Public body including law enforcement.

Respondents were able to select multiple groups and an 'Other' option also allowed them to suggest an alternative group. Based on the information provided, two additional group types were created: 'Other – private sector' and 'Other – non private sector'.

For the purposes of the analysis set out in this report, each organisation was placed into a primary group. When an organisation had selected more than one group type, the primary group was selected by the analysis team, based on available information on the organisation (including through a web search) and on the content and focus of their response.

A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is set out below, and a full list of group respondents is appended to this report as Annex 1.

Table 1: Type of respondent
Organisations: Number
Animal welfare 17
Conservation, including representative bodies 23
Land management, including representative bodies 41
Pest control, including representative bodies 8
Public body, including law enforcement 7
Sporting organisations, including representative bodies 6
Other - private sector 18
Other - non private sector 9
Organisations 129
Individuals 4734
All respondents 4863

The largest group of organisational respondents was from the land management sector, with a number of responses from estates, including some who identified themselves as running grouse shooting operations.

Analysis and reporting

The report presents a question-by-question analysis of answers to the closed questions and further comments at open questions.

The analysis at closed questions uses variable bases, giving numbers and percentages for those who answered that question.

At open questions, the comment rate is provided at each question. The analysis across the open questions suggests that many respondents, particularly amongst those who largely disagreed with the proposals set out, had drawn on consultation briefings developed by various representative bodies.

Further comments tended to be relatively brief, although a small number of organisations (primarily 'Land management' or 'Sporting organisation' representative bodies or 'Conservation' or 'Animal welfare' organisations) made longer, more detailed submissions. The analysis presented in this report concentrates on more frequently raised issues.

As with any public consultation exercise, it should be noted that those responding generally have a particular interest in the subject area. Therefore, the views they express cannot necessarily be seen as representative of wider public opinion.

Please note also that the nature of the open questions asked (generally phrased 'If you answered no...') means that the range of views set out at the open questions tends not to reflect the balance of opinion at the closed questions. Those who supported the proposals were most likely to make a further comment in the final question of each section (at Questions 16, 24, 35 and 38).


Email: philippa.james@gov.scot

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