The League Against Cruel Sports, one of the UK’s leading animal welfare charities, has welcomed the publication of a new review into shooting regulations which shows Scotland lagging behind its European counterparts when it comes to laws on wildlife crime.

The report, by Scottish Natural Heritage, which examined shooting regulations in 14 countries across Europe, found that Scotland has very little regulation associated with shooting game birds. All countries examined had some form of licensing, and many other types of regulation, including mandatory training for shooters, tighter controls on what species can be shot in what regions, and systems for recording kills.

The report identifies Spain as the “most relevant comparator” to Scotland, as game birds are reared and shot on private estates and it is, outside of the UK, Europe’s main area for raptor persecution. However, as the report states, Spain has taken steps to tackle wildlife crime, including an increase in the maximum fine for bird crime to two million euros.

Jennifer Dunn, Senior Public Affairs Officer for Scotland, said: “The links between driven grouse shooting and raptor persecution have been demonstrated time and time again. What this report helpfully sets out is how tighter regulation and increased enforcement has helped reduce these wildlife crimes in other countries.”

“We’re very pleased that Scottish Natural Heritage and the Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham, have recognised this. It is time now for the Government to act and tighten up the law on wildlife crime. We look forward to working with them on this.”