As some may recall there was a thread a while back where, to my shock and dismay, even a small number of stalkers were treating calls for enforced training and qualification with some glee. While explanation for their personal position is beyond my talents or understanding I thought it might be possible to investigate the reasons underlying the government/SNH position that we need more paperwork.
My position with training and testing of any type is that it is first necessary to establish a need or a failing on the part of the target trainees. To do this you need evidence in a form that can be measured so you can establish the nature of the need, the means to correct the problem, the exact training to be given and then, most importantly, after the training you can measure the improvement.
With these points in mind I stated on the thread that I would contact SNH, who are pushing the calls for training, with a FOI request with a view to establishing the information they are using to support their demands for training. I asked questions about the areas which appear, on reading this forum, to be where most people consider stalkers present a risk. I asked only about fatalities as past experience has indicated that this is a very simple metric which is not prone to manipulation (i.e. it is easy to count dead people and there is no "wiggle" room to up the figures by making stuff up.)
The questions I asked are as follows, this is the exact text I sent to SNH so there is no room for ambiguity:
Please consider the following a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act (Scotland).
Please provide the information relating to the following for the period of the previous 5 years. Ideally I would like individual sets of figures for each year but a total for the last 5 years for which figures are available would be acceptable if producing detailed information would result in excessive cost:
1) The number of people killed by firearms while the firearms were actively being used by deer stalkers for the purpose of shooting deer.
2) The number of people killed by food poisoning, or other illness, contracted by eating wild venison which was shot in Scotland and where the source of the infection was shown to be as a result of mishandling of the meat by the deer stalker.
3) The total number of people killed by food poisoning, or other illness, contracted by eating wild venison which was shot in Scotland.
4) The number of CONFIRMED cases of animal welfare issues concerning deer that were shown to have been caused by stalking or stalkers.
The SNH reply will follow in the next post on the thread.