HC Deb 25 November 1958 vol 596 cc192-3
2. Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what figure he aims to reduce the red deer population in Scotland; what percentage of the present red deer population he estimates this to be; and how many red deer will require to be slaughtered, giving figures to the nearest 10,000, in order to achieve the optimum deer population at which he aims.

Mr. Maclay

The Deer (Scotland) Bill is not directly aimed at an overall reduction of deer numbers to achieve an optimum population. The compulsory powers which it is proposed to confer on a Red Deer Commission relate to reduction in red deer numbers where damage is being caused to agriculture or forestry. In such cases it will be for the Commission, in the light of their examination of local circumstances, to assess the reduction required in any particular area.

Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have heard it suggested that some 30,000 or 40,000 deer are to be slaughtered as a result of the Act? Will he give the House an assurance that he envisages nothing as drastic as that?

Mr. Maclay

I do not know where my hon. and gallant Friend can have heard such figures. The reply which I have given states clearly the purpose of the Act. There is at the moment no overall figure for reduction in my mind or, as far as I know, in anybody else's.