"I very much welcome the significant reduction in the number of birds of prey poisoned, which I hope signals the real change in attitude that is required to end this outdated and cruel practice.
"2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and our birds of prey are both a vital part of the natural environment and a stunning spectacle which attract visitors to our countryside from home and abroad.
"It is our duty to protect them."
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The 12.5 hour walkout by 63 GMB members got under way at 6am this morning and will continue until 6.30pm this evening.
37-year-old Graeme Haddon pleaded guilty to the offence which happened in his home village of Lamancha near West Linton at the weekend.
Laura Price was dragged into an alleyway, close to Penrith Leisure Centre, where she had her head jumped on and kicked "like a football".