Compulsory testing plans scrapped for Scottish deer stalking.
4th May 2010 . .immediate release
Planned compulsory testing for deer stalkers in Scotland has been scrapped after lobbying led by the UKs largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and supported by other land management organisations. The move would have meant the estimated 20,000 people actively involved in deer management in Scotland having to pass a mandatory test.
This proposal had been expected to be part of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill but after successful lobbying these proposals have been shelved. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is one of the main providers of deer stalker training in Scotland but was a principal objector to the introduction of mandatory testing.
The Government proposals could have made existing qualifications redundant. Thousands of stalkers will now be spared the cost of taking new examinations. It will also save considerable amounts of public money which would have been incurred in establishing a register for deer stalkers in Scotland. It will also prevent stalkers resident in Scotland from requiring a higher standard of testing than elsewhere in Europe.
BASC Scotlands press and policy officer, Nicolle Upton, said: BASC Scotland uncovered misleading guidance regarding deer stalking fatalities in the consultation document for the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill. BASC's own research showed that three fatalities referred to in the consultation document were not associated with deer stalking, deer stalkers or indeed Scotland. The guidance given to the public in the consultation was misleading and undermined the already weak evidence supporting the argument that deer stalking represents a potential risk to public safety.
After months of lobbying we are relieved that the Scottish Government has recognised our concerns and removed the requirement for competence testing. Scotland already has one of the best safety records in the world; attributable to the high standards adhered to by our experienced stalkers and the voluntary training taken up by newcomers. We support industry-led voluntary training and believe that, in this area, Government control is both unnecessary and would act as a disincentive for vital deer management.
For more information please call the BASC press office on 01244 573031 or BASC Scotland on 01350 723226.