This story about one of the only Golden Eagles in the Borders of Scotland being poisoned is profoundly depressing. I am a countryman through and through and believe that all true such folk will strongly deprecate this act.

Doubtless this bird has picked up poison that was set for Hen Harriers, which are a genuine scourge of grouse which cannot be bred like pheasants or partridges and so artificially replenished. Nonetheless, were I the owner of a grouse moor (chance would be amore than fine thing) I would still find it impossible deliberately to exterminate either the harriers or the eagle, not least because such is illegal. And if I was lucky enough to have Golden Eagle about, there is now way I would do anything which might threaten its presence for these are truly magnificent birds.

What also depresses me and ought to depress all true sportsmen are the utterly pathetic and incredible excuses and explanations offered by the Scottish Gamekeeper’s Association. I am perfectly prepared to get stuck into the animal rights fascists and their ludicrous arguments and namby-pamby bunny-hugging sentiments with the rest, but trying to pin this on them by suggesting this bird has been produced all over the place as evidence of the wickedness of all shooting folk is simply laughable. Far better would have been a stern statement that any employee found laying poisoned bait must expect instant dismissal and an expression of regret that one of the most magnificent of our native birds had been killed.

It is to be hoped that all true countrymen will now give this particular Estate a wide berth as a mark of disapproval.