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Countryside Alliance joins calls against Scotland's red deer ‘massacre’

The Scottish Countryside Alliance has joined calls for the traditional closed season for culling male deer to be protected, after Highland MSP Edward Mountain condemned the Scottish Government’s legislative proposals to introduce an all year round open season on killing all male deer.

The proposal is due to be considered by the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee at the Scottish Parliament this September and Mr Mountain is calling on MSPs to support his motion to annul the legislative change.

The Highlands and Islands MSP has also launched a petition on his website calling for the Scottish Government to drop the proposals, warning that the introduction of an all year round open season for male deer “is likely to result in increased suffering and poor selective management.

“After 40 years of managing deer I cannot support the Scottish Government’s proposals to remove the closed seasons on all male deer," he said.

“Creating a permanent open season on culling male deer will not lead to good management, but indiscriminate killing and, I fear, uncontrolled slaughter.

“That’s why I have lodged a motion to annul this proposal at the Scottish Parliament and have also launched a petition calling on the Scottish Government to drop this idea."
The current closed seasons were already serving Scotland well, he felt, and proving far more effective at protecting the welfare of the deer population.

“Managing and culling the deer population takes more than just shooting every male deer in sight. The Scottish Government needs to go back to the drawing board and be far more thoughtful in its approach in its aim to reduce the size of the national deer herd.

“I would prefer to see them put more boots on the ground and collaborate more with land managers, focusing their efforts on protecting the fit and healthy male deer. Reducing the national deer herd is about good management, not massacres.”

Jake Swindells, the Alliance's Scottish director, said: “The SCA fully support the petition put forward by Edward Mountain, MSP, condemning the proposal for an open male deer season in Scotland. The introduction of a year-round season will only serve to introduce welfare issues for deer, something that ScotGov rightly seeks to ensure in all other wildlife management legislation.  Red deer in particular are an iconic symbol of Scotland and we are saddened that the Scottish Government are proposing a free-for-all cull in these secondary legislative proposals”.

Click here to view and sign Edward Mountain MSP's petition for the removal of close seasons for male deer in Scotland.

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