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From the editor: Howling mad ideals could reap grim farming fairytale

Another week and seemingly another far fetched plan emerges to bring back a long gone, but clearly not forgotten species.

Perhaps drawing inspiration from the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, Scotland yet again finds itself as a plaything for rewilding evangelists, this time with wolves mooted as making a return.

 

With large swathes of the Highlands and elsewhere owned by billionaire environmentalists, such ideas seemingly flourish with little regard for the actual consequences once they are manifested in reality. As anyone who has seen the recent videos detailing the devastation sea eagles are causing to sheep flocks in Scotland this spring, the benign image painted of these predators by some supporters could not be further from the truth.

 

That is not to say, of course, that farming should close its mind to the possibilities around certain forms of rewilding, but as the rewilders seem to occupy their own echo chambers with little empathy for those who make a living from the land, the debate can therefore become even more embittered and adversarial, with both sides switching off from the other’s rationale.

And it is not just in Scotland where landscape management is being reimagined, with Farmers Guardian reporting on scores of incidents over the past few years where environmentalists and agriculturalists have clashed badly over the future management of iconic areas, ones which have been shaped with farming at their core for centuries.

 

The challenge intensifies when those ideals which once existed on the periphery of debate start to take more of the centre ground, with concerns mounting in England over the forthcoming Environment Bill. The slow encroachment of green ideals over the past generation is now starting to be felt in very real terms at farm level and will change how some have to farm.

 

As a publication we have long argued for common sense to reign when it comes to future land use policy or proposed rewilding schemes, but that will only happen if farmers are engaged with and listened to, something which does not often seem to be the case.

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