The management of wild deer in Scotland: Deer Working Group report

The final report of the Deer Working Group.

Part Two - Public Safety And Animal Welfare


1 Wild deer need to be culled each year in Scotland as part of managing their population levels. This annual cull can be carried out either by shooting the deer or by using live capture. Currently, over 100,000 wild deer are shot annually, while the number taken by live capture is considered to be small.

2 A basic public interest requirement is that, independent of who might have the legal right to kill or take wild deer on particular land, there should be adequate statutory provisions in place to ensure that the killing or taking is carried out to appropriately high standards of animal welfare and public safety in all circumstances.

3 Section 4 below considers the standards for how wild deer can be killed under the current provisions of the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 and related legislation. The next two Sections then review when deer can be killed, while Section 7 examines how and when deer can be taken by live capture. Section 8 considers who can kill deer lawfully, before Section 9 describes the exemptions to standards of how and when and by whom deer can be killed provided by s.25 of the Act to prevent suffering by deer.

4 The final three Sections in this Part of the Report consider further aspects of the management of wild deer where basic standards of animal welfare and public safety should apply in all circumstances. Section 10 considers wild deer and diseases, while Section 11 examines wild venison and food safety. Section 12 then considers the distinctions between wild deer and captive deer, because of the implications for animal welfare and food safety of deer that might be regarded as captive deer being managed as if they are wild deer.



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