Huge deer cull 'would be a rural disaster'
Culling half of the UK's deer population spells disaster for many rural communities, gamekeepers have warned.
While the Westcountry is likely to be one of the hotspots for a cull, the Scottish Gamekeepers Association has spoken out against the plans, saying deer stalking supports local economies by keeping schools, hotels and shops open and warned against using a "one-size fits all" policy in every region.
The organisation responded to a study by East Anglia University which suggests a massive scale cull – up to 750,000 – is needed just to keep the UK's exploding deer population at current levels.
However, the association said this would make job losses in countryside areas, like Scotland, inevitable.
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"Stalking income keeps the hotels and guest houses, shops and schools open. It keeps jobs in these areas and the benefits trickle down through the community," says chairman Alex Hogg. He adds: "It would be absolutely wrong to take this science, gleaned from studying one forested area of East Anglia, and apply it to all parts of the UK. A one-size-fits-all approach would have serious repercussions."