BOFF! THWACK! KAPOW! The Golden Eagle Satellite Tagging Group sorts out the SGA

In a typically thorough and measured Raptor Persecution UK post (from the 22nd), Ruth Tingay discusses the ridiculous PE01750, a petition submitted by Alex Hogg on behalf of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee.

The petition – ‘Independent monitoring of satellite tags fitted to raptors’ – essentially aims to distract from the ongoing persecution of raptors by querying the independence and efficiency of satellite-tagging because as RPUK brilliantly puts it:

“satellite-tagged raptors have caused the grouse-shooting industry all sorts of pain in recent years, because scientists have been able to use the analysis of extensive tag data to expose the scale of previously-hidden raptor persecution on or close to some driven grouse moors, even when the raptor-killing criminals thought they’d done a good clean-up job by destroying and removing the raptor corpse and the tag. Although sometimes the clean-up job wasn’t done so well, as evidenced last year by the discovery of a golden eagle’s satellite tag, its harness cut, wrapped in lead sheeting (to block the signal) and dumped in a river (see here and here).”

RPUK, Scottish gamekeepers’ petition calling for independent monitoring of raptor satellite tags is ‘fact-free nonsense’, 22 Feb 21

In the post Ruth describes how papers have been published on the ECCLR Committee’s website, including a formal response to the petition by the Golden Eagle Satellite Tag Group (GESTG), a research group established in Scotland by scientists as “a forum for data exchange, tagging coordination and general cooperation“.

In her words the GESTG “takes apart the SGA’s petition pretty much line by line and eviscerates it “.


Now that’s the sort of statement that just cries out to be investigated! And the GESTG response certainly doesn’t disappoint. It is absolutely savage – in the cool, unemotional but detailed and intellectual way that scientists go about ‘eviscerating’ opponents they clearly see as – well, cack-handed and a bit dim (which mirrors our opinion of the SGA leadership – see Alex Hogg knows nothing about birdwatching…for example).

It’s well worth reading if you have an interest in these matters, and includes such choice phrases as:

  • “This implication seems either extremely naïve or disingenuous of evidence”
  • “This is another red herring”
  • “The information is already “independent” and to suggest otherwise is incorrect.”
  • “The petitioner is clearly unaware and ignorant of the relevant considerations and how telemetry data should be analysed”
  • “Again this appears to be misdirection”
  • “For the petitioner to imply that recording ‘official’ criminal statistics, so far as satellite telemetry records, is down to tag reliability…is patent nonsense.”
  • “There are several misrepresentations in this statement, which again betrays ignorance and a distorted viewpoint.”
  • “Again, a further misrepresentation”
  • “Once more, the petitioner seems to be confounding presentation of factual information with a “campaign”.”
  • “Is demonstrably errant nonsense”.

The GESTG saves the best for last though, concluding a very one-sided fight with:

  • “At best this SGA position is insulting, given the many productions to discover biology which have resulted and will result from this remote telemetry method. At worst the SGA position is potentially defamatory as his patently partisan body directly claims that those in ‘control’ of raptor satellite tagging data are not ‘independent’. This is a baseless affront.” and “It is paradoxical that the SGA in this petition repeatedly refers to the term of ‘independence’ without any sense of irony or self-reflection”.

‘Without any sense of irony or self-reflection’. BOFF!  THWACK!  KAPOW! as the Batman illustrators might put it. Take a firm, well-aimed wallop to the midriff, Joker…


The full response (which is 14 pages long but will certainly bring more smiles to your face than the average committee paper) is available as a download from RPUK

It’s been a long hard twelve months – have a chuckle at the SGA’s expense. We’ve all earned it.