Thank you for getting in touch with me on this important issue.
I recognise that growing deer numbers can have a negative impact on our woodlands and other habitats. That’s why the sustainable management of Scotland’s deer is vital to protect and restore the natural balance of the environments. We must do everything in our power to ensure Scottish environment and biodiversity are protected and enhanced, but this must not be at a cost to high animal welfare standards.
Scottish Labour has long fought for animal welfare to be at the heart of wildlife management. Stags and deer are an iconic Scottish species and their needs and welfare must be considered in any plans to protect the land.
The Scottish Government agreed to bring forward this Bill during this parliamentary term and once it is introduced Scottish Labour will ensure it proposals are properly scrutinised. Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs and Biodiversity spokespersons, Colin Smyth MSP and Mercedes Villalba MSP, are committed to holding the Government to account on issues of animal welfare and ensure any new legislation does not undermine key welfare standards and is fit for purpose.