Stags left to rot

The John Muir Trust, dedicated to “protecting and enhancing wild places” has culled 86 deer and left the carcases to rot, wasting over £100,000 in lost revenue from stalking and venison sales. The cull has angered local gamekeepers and residents, who are now calling for a government inquiry.

The John Muir Trust, a conservation charity, has admitted that some of the culled deer were left to rot in the open. The Trust also failed to inform locals near the land in Li and Coire Dhorcail of its intention to cull the animals, as is normal practice, instead informing Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Furthermore, despite the SNH only observing 14 stags during indicative cull counts, the Trust chose to cull 86 stags and did not dispose of them ethically – either by processing the game or placing the carcase out of view for birds of prey to eat – causing outrage among local deer managers.

Lester Standen, the John Muir Trust deer officer, dismissed accusations of mismanagement, saying, “Clearly there are differences of opinion over deer management between traditional sporting estates and those who strive to repair the ecological damage caused by centuries of overgrazing. But to suggest that the local economy is being destroyed because of the culling of 86 stags is simply scaremongering.”

Now the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) is calling for an inquiry, asking the Scottish Government to investigate why the Trust failed to carry out the cull in the proper manner. “What is considered ethical and decent has been over-stepped,” said a spokesperson for the SGA. “It is highly unlikely anyone on either side of the argument would view leaving deer to rot, lack of community engagement and an over-reliance on out of season culling as either progressive or modern.”

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