General Public

Wildlife Crime

Wildlife crime manifests itself in many ways from the illegal international trade in wildlife to the deliberate persecution of animals.  Investigating wildlife crime often requires an unusual set of forensic tools, and here at SASA we have expertise relating to chemical analysis of suspected animal poisoning, and also wildlife DNA forensics.

Reporting and Follow-up Action

How SASA reports on incidents and what follow-up action might be taken

Field information and residue data are assessed, and where possible incidents of poisoning attributed to one of the following categories of use:

Approved use




Veterinary use

Laboratory Investigations

Covering post mortem examinations and pesticide analysis

Post Mortem Examination

Post mortem examinations are undertaken by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, a division of Scotland's Rural College (SRUC), and are an essential element of the investigation. Other causes of death that may be unrelated to possible exposure to a pesticide can be identified, eliminating the requirement for analysis. Alternatively evidence consistent with poisoning being the cause of death may be gained, and appropriate tissue samples taken for analysis

How To Report Pesticide Incidents in Scotland

Information on how to go about reporting pesticide incidents

Animals (Wildlife & Pets)

Incidents of suspected poisoning of animals in Scotland involving;

  • Wild birds and mammals
  • Companion animals (pets, working animals)
  • Livestock
  • Bees and other pollinators ie beneficial insects
    • Suspected baits/suspicious substances

should be notified as soon as possible to WIIS-Scotland.

Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS)

Incidents of suspected poisoning of animals by pesticides in Scotland are investigated. The aim of the scheme is to identify any adverse effects on non-target animals that might arise from the approved use of pesticides. If the data gathered by the scheme, and sister schemes throughout the UK, indicate a particular problem, then the registration status of the pesticide concerned is subject to review by the UK regulatory body. The data are also used in the validation and improvement of risk assessments for existing and new compounds.

Pesticide Residues in Food

One of the principal functions of the Pesticides Branch at SASA is participation in annual UK and EU surveillance programme aimed at the monitoring of multiple pesticide residues in food & drink. A rolling programme, covering the main food groups of fruit and vegetables, cereals and cereal products and products of animal and fish origin, is implemented via specific commodity surveys on samples collected within calendar years.

Pesticide & Chemical Analysis

An introduction to our work in the areas of Food & Drink surveys,operation of Scotland’s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS - Scotland) and provison of analytical chemistry support to the investigation of Wildlife Crime.

Plant Health

For information on Plant Health and Brexit see the Plant Health EU Exit guidance page


Pesticide Usage

The regulation of pesticides and biocides in the UK is undertaken by the Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) in York and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in Bootle respectively. Pesticides and biocides are carefully assessed prior to approval under the EU Thematic Strategy for Pesticides and the Biocidal Products Directive respectively.


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