Breeder fined over illegal high-price sales of peregrine falcons

A breeder who illegally sold peregrine falcons for thousands of pounds has been fined £2,100 and ordered to forfeit £5,220 in cash seized from his home.

A breeder who illegally sold peregrine falcons for thousands of pounds has been fined £2,100. 

Gary MacFarlane, 62, was also ordered to forfeit £5,220 in cash seized from his home address after he pled guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court to a number of offences under wildlife legislation concerning birds of prey.  

MacFarlane admitted failing to complete the necessary documentation needed to sell the birds under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations 2018. 

He admitted one charge of offering a peregrine for sale and two of selling falcons without an 'Article 10' certificate as required by law. 

He also pled guilty to seven counts of making false declarations over the parentage of birds he bred at his home in Blackridge, West Lothian, in June 2021. 

The court heard how MacFarlane misled online buyers by providing them with letters indicating he had applied for Article 10 registration certificates for the birds. 

MacFarlane’s offences came to light after bird of prey enthusiasts who answered his adverts on a bird trader website agreed to pay several thousand pounds to buy a number of peregrine falcons. 

The court heard that each time MacFarlane insisted that he had applied to the The Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) for the required A10 documentation. 

However, the organisation received an anonymous tip-off in June 2021 that he was offering peregrine falcon tiercels for sale without an Article 10 being in place for the respective birds.  

Iain Batho, who leads on Wildlife and Environmental Crime for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS, said: 

“It is highly important to preserve Scotland’s natural heritage, including the wildlife that forms part of it. 

“Birds of prey are given strict protection by our law and this includes ensuring adherence to the strict rules that are in place for the lawful trade and registration of such animals.  

“These rules are in place to ensure that the trade of birds of prey is carried out lawfully and to ensure the ongoing health and welfare of the bird of prey population in Scotland, both in the wild and in captivity.”