A group that includes members from the National Trust for Scotland, RSPB Scotland and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland wants to force landowners to cull huge amounts of deer or be billed by the state, who will carry out the cull itself.
The comments from Scottish Environmental LINK were made in a written submission to the rural affairs committee.
It claims that landowners are unwilling to properly manage the deer population because they are concerned it will damage the stalking industry, which is worth £105 million and supports over 2,500 jobs.
Scottish Environmental LINK suggested that landowners who don’t meet targets aimed at reducing the number of deer should be issued a warning by quango Scottish National Heritage. If they don’t act, the group wants landowners to be given control orders and foot the bill for any culling by the state.
LINK argues that Scotland’s woodlands “have been ecologically impoverished over several centuries, due in part to the impacts of high deer numbers maintained for sporting and estate capital value purposes”.
But as Shooting Times explains, native vegetation is capable of sustaining one deer per three acres. That’s 10 times the population that conservationists have proposed. And issues with damage to trees can be traced back to poor soil conditions rather than high numbers of deer.
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