Deer Management

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:36 pm on 9th February 2005.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party 5:36 pm, 9th February 2005

It is always a pleasure to follow one of life's poachers, John Farquhar Munro, especially when I am speaking out on behalf of Scotland's gamekeepers. I echo the sentiments that John Farquhar Munro expressed on the vital role that they play in deer management.

As a former mountain rescue team member and hillwalker, I believe that there is a place for the co-existence of walking, mountaineering and sporting activities; that is what we should seek to achieve. However, the events at Glen Feshie last January have caused widespread anger among those people who work with deer. The Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management wrote to the DCS chairman to express

"concern at the serious shortcomings in animal welfare that apparently accompanied the cull. Hinds were left severely wounded, having been shot in the abdomen or hindquarters, for at least 20 minutes before they were put out of their suffering."

When we debated the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill, we accepted that cruelty took place if the fox was not seen off within 10 or 15 seconds. It is beyond my ken how anyone can say that leaving on the hill for 20 minutes a hind that has been shot and is suffering is anything other than cruel or barbaric.