SCOTTISH Land & Estates has echoed the concerns of the deer management sector in the face of calls for parliamentary regulation of deer management in Scotland.
Chief Executive Douglas McAdam joined the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association and Association of Deer Management Groups in urging caution at proposals for further regulation of an industry already heavy with red tape. He said:
“The current system of voluntary regulation in deer management has worked well for many years in the vast majority of cases and we would strongly urge against the ‘sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut’ approach now being proposed by Rob Gibson MSP. Basing the case for such a radical change to a system that generally works well across Scotland on the evidence of one visit and one side of a story is perhaps not sound.
"The whole area of deer management in Scotland, including how it is undertaken and regulated, was debated thoroughly by parliament in 2010 during the passage of the WANE Bill. At that time all parties had the chance to make their case and parliament clearly concluded the public interest would be best served through a system of voluntary deer management with the introduction of a deer management code.
“The situation in Assynt is very specific and has arisen where one party in a deer management group area has differing objectives and management policies to their neighbours. A willingness to compromise is required by all parties to move this situation forward. If that cannot be achieved voluntarily then Scottish Natural Heritage, the relevant government agency in this field, already has the necessary legal and regulatory tools to deal with such unusual situations. It seems logical to allow SNH to now proceed with the task at hand rather than make suggestions of revisiting the fundamentals of the entire system.”