Press Release: Extinction Rebellion’s week of protests to highlight ecological issues in Scotland
October 29, 2020
Extinction Rebellion’s week of protests to highlight ecological issues in Scotland
Thursday 29th October 2020
Extinction Rebellion Scotland are taking action from 26 to 31 October to highlight the Ecological Emergency and the lack of Government action to end wildlife persecution in Scotland.
XR Scotland will be taking action in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling, and Fort William to demand an end to wildlife persecution in Scotland this weekend, after missing posters for endangered species appeared around the country since Monday.
Despite being lauded internationally for the beauty of its natural landscape, Scotland is one of the most ecologically depleted countries in the world. One in nine species are threatened with extinction in Scotland, and protected species such as native mountain hares, birds of prey, and beavers continue to be killed legally and illegally. 
A recent report by Revive, the coalition for grouse moor reform, estimates that up to 260,000 animals are killed every year on Scottish driven grouse moors. 
The decline in Scotland’s wildlife has been going on for centuries and is closely linked with the unfair and unequal distribution of land and natural resources. The structure of land holdings in Scotland is the most unequal in the world, with around one-quarter of Scotland’s land owned by around 350 shooting estates. 
Kate Willis, an ecologist and a member of Extinction Rebellion in Fort William, said “Scotland is in the midst of an ecological crisis and it is time the Scottish Government and NatureScot (formerly SNH) treat this crisis with the urgency it deserves. Scotland is a barren ecological desert, stripped bare of its woodlands and wildlife. As the Scottish Governments advisor and the public body responsible for Scotland’s natural heritage, NatureScot is failing in its duty to protect our wildlife, and instead protects rich landowners, regularly issuing licences to ‘control (shoot) nuisance’ protected and endangered species. We need to end the war on wildlife before it is too late, because without nature we do not have a future, and that is why we rebel for wildlife.”
Fort William – Monday 26th October
Activists put up ‘missing animal’ posters and large silhouettes of protected animals to raise awareness about wildlife persecution in Scotland. The posters and animal silhouettes were pasted in the pedestrian underpass to the High Street in Fort William.
Thousands of animals are killed on driven grouse moors and estates in Scotland. Every year, up to 26,000 protected mountain hares are shot on driven grouse moors, and in 2019, 87 beavers were killed under NatureScot (SNH) licence, despite the Scottish Government voting to protect them in May 2019. 
A spokesperson for XR Fort William said “The Scottish Government is failing to take action to end Scotland’s war on wildlife, and until the grouse shooting industry is regulated (or banned) wildlife crimes will continue.”
Stirling – Thursday 29th October
Protecting trees scheduled to be felled
Activists in Stirling have handmade signs to place on the mature trees at Viewforth scheduled to be felled for a new road. The controversial plan would see a road built through the Council HQ grounds, which is a conservation area. The signs highlight that trees reduce air and water pollution and provide homes and food for hundreds of other species.
This follows an action in September where XR Stirling planted saplings where the road was to be built.
A spokesperson for XR Stirling said “The trees to be felled include many native species with very high biodiversity value. Beautiful oak, ash, birch, elm, lime, rowan, alder and yew are among the victims. Oaks alone provide food and a home to hundreds of different insect species that supply birds with an important food source. Bats also roost in mature oaks and feast on the insect population.”
“Last time that we came to Viewforth we planted 23 saplings, one for each Councillor on Stirling Council. We hope that now the Councillors will read the signs that we have put on the mature trees that have been condemned . There is still time to change their decision to fell trees for road building and to reallocate the multi-million budget to meet real local needs”
Dundee – Saturday 31st October
At 12pm Extinction Rebellion Dundee will be holding a “die-in” protest action in City Square. The action will highlight the killing of rare, iconic and protected species of wildlife and the failure of the Scottish government to take action to end wildlife persecution in Scotland, particularly threats to Scottish wildlife and environment as a result of grouse shooting.
Robbie Kelly, a copyeditor and member of Extinction Rebellion in Dundee, said: “At a time when one in nine species are threatened with extinction in Scotland, it is appalling that Scottish grouse moors continue to massacre up to 260,000 animals every year. Equally shocking is their practice of systematic burning of peat moorlands, which threatens Scotland’s unique peatlands and the vast amounts of carbon dioxide locked up within them. We urgently need to regulate this shockingly damaging land use and move towards alternatives which would be better not only for Scotland’s wildlife and environment but for our economy too”
Gilbert Ramsay, a professional development officer at the University of Dundee and member of Extinction Rebellion Dundee, said “The Scottish Government is standing by as legally protected wildlife is slaughtered with impunity, whether it’s the disappearance of hen harriers and eagles on sporting estates, the wholesale massacre of mountain hares, or the eighty seven beavers who were shot by famers, but stabbed in the back by a Holyrood administration that granted them protected status, and then immediately handed out the licenses to kill them.”
Edinburgh – Saturday 31st October
Procession, rally and ‘The Hunted Haunt Holyrood’
Activists will meet at Edinburgh Castle at 4pm, and proceed down the Royal Mile with banners and illuminated puppets. Once at Parliament, there will be short speeches on wildlife and land reform, followed by a ‘die-in’, with activists dressed as persecuted animals lying down one by one. A minute’s silence will be held to remember the thousands of animals that are killed annually on grouse moors and estates in Scotland. In ‘The Hunted Haunt Holyrood’ activists will perform a “reverse fox hunt” with people dressed as foxes hunting a human
Glasgow – Saturday 31st October
Glasgow activists will gather around 4pm in Glasgow Green to play a series of wildlife themed ‘schoolyard’ games with a serious message, including mock grouse shoot using ‘NERF’ guns and a game of hide and seek where the hiders are dressed as endangered animals.
London – Saturday 31st October
Animal Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion London will march from DEFRA to Buckingham Palace and demand an end to archaic practices that are destroying homes, habitats and our country. Marchers will meet at St John’s Gardens at 5:30pm on the night of Halloween, where the hunted animals will return to haunt the hunters.
On the 29th August Prince William was spotted shooting on the grouse moors near Balmoral with his eldest son, seven-year-old Prince George, looking on . Just a few weeks later, on the 8th October he launched his ‘Earthshot Prize’ that aims to reward £50 million to new solutions that can ‘help to repair our planet.’ 
This will be a fun, family friendly event with speeches, activities and very scary Halloween costumes.
In addition to these actions, ‘missing animal’ posters like those put up in Fort William will be appearing in other parts of Scotland.
This week of actions follows a three week campaign called ‘Make the Connections’, where XR Scotland highlighted collusion between the finance sector, government, and the fossil fuel industry.  The campaign included dropping a banner off the roof of Scottish Parliament , dumping a pile of shite outside BP’s offices in Aberdeen , and blockading the headquarters and largest refinery of Ineos at Grangemouth .
Face masks and social distancing will be used at all events. Travelling long distances, especially on public transport, has been discouraged in favour of decentralised local action being taken in small groups avoiding excess gathering.
A spokesperson for XR Scotland said “We have been meticulous in ensuring that all of our members, particularly those taking part in public-facing actions, have been provided with clear guidance on how to take part safely during this time. We absolutely understand the seriousness of this pandemic, but at the same time, continuous failure to act decisively on climate change is endangering our entire planet and all life on it. We have no choice but to take action.”
- British Trust for Ornothology – State of Nature Report Scotland 2019 https://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/publications/state-of-nature-2019-report-scotland.pdf
- The coalition for grouse moor reform – Calculating Cruelty: The results of a field study showing that up to a quarter of a million animals are killed each year in Scotland to ensure more grouse can be shot for “sport” https://revive.scot/publication/calculating-cruelty-the-results-of-a-field-study-showing-that-up-to-a-quarter-of-a-million-animals-are-killed-each-year-in-scotland-to-ensure-more-grouse-can-be-shot-for-sport/
- Scottish Land Commission – Addressing Scotland’s pattern of land ownership can unlock economic and community opportunities https://landcommission.gov.scot/2019/03/addressing-scotlands-pattern-of-land-ownership-can-unlock-economic-and-community-opportunities
- The Ferret – Mass shooting of mountain hares to be banned https://theferret.scot/mountain-hares-seal-scarers-beavers-scotland/
- Tatler: The Duke of Cambridge shows Prince George how it’s done at Scottish grouse shoot https://www.tatler.com/article/duke-of-cambridge-prince-george-watches-grouse-shoot-scotland-near-balmoral
- BBC News – Prince William and Sir David Attenborough join forces on ‘Earthshot’ prize https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54435638
- XR Scotland – Extinction Rebellion begin ‘Make the Connections’ civil disobedience campaign in Scotland https://mailchi.mp/058aa812ed1d/press-release-extinction-rebellion-begin-civil-disobedience-campaign-in-scotland
- XR Scotland – BREAKING: Extinction Rebellion Scotland climb Holyrood and drop banner ‘Choose Oil or Choose Life: Act Now’ Over Entrance https://xrscotland.org/2020/10/breaking-extinction-rebellion-scotland-climb-holyrood-and-drop-banner-choose-oil-or-choose-life-act-now-over-entrance/
- XR Scotland – We Smell Shite https://xrscotland.org/2020/10/we-smell-shite/
- XR Scotland – BREAKING: Extinction Rebellion Scotland blockade Ineos gates at Grangemouth https://xrscotland.org/2020/10/breaking-extinction-rebellion-scotland-blockade-ineos-gates-at-grangemouth/
More information about Extinction Rebellion’s Scotland Rebellion 2020 and the Wildlife Rebellion can be found here:
About Extinction Rebellion Scotland
Extinction Rebellion Scotland is a non-violent direct-action movement formed to take urgent action in the face of climate emergency and ecological catastrophe, as part of the global justice movement.
Our demands, issued as a Declaration of Rebellion to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on 24th November 2018, are as follows;
- That the Scottish Government tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, acknowledge and reverse any policies that help drive the climate crisis, and commit to enabling a rapid and just transition to a sustainable and fair society.
- That the Scottish Government enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, including by replacing a system based on accelerating consumption with one based on ensuring the wellbeing of all.
- The creation of a legally binding Scottish Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.