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Three-fold rise in wildlife crime

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11 November 2009 - BBC News

Wildlife crimes in Scotland have almost trebled in the past decade, according to new figures. Offences involving cruelty to wild animals increased from 140 in 1999-2000 to 384 in 2008-09.

The figures cover offences involving birds, badgers, hunting with dogs and cruelty to wild animals.

Dr Nanette Milne MSP, Conservative spokeswoman for the environment, said: "Wildlife crime is deplorable and we must do all we can to wipe out this disgusting practice. Based on today's figures, we are a long way from achieving that goal. Whilst there may be a case for the tightening of existing legislation, it is the consistent enforcement of that existing legislation which is the real problem. Scotland has some of the strongest wildlife protection laws in Europe and our efforts should be primarily focused on ensuring the existing legislation is properly used and enforced."

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "The increase reflects the growing awareness and reporting of crimes against wildlife. We are determined to continue our work through the Partnership For Action Against Wildlife Crime to bring those few individuals perpetrating crimes against wildlife to justice."

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