HC Deb 22 February 1978 vol 944 cc685-6W
Mr. Welsh

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many commercial and experimental deer farms exist in Scotland; and if he will make a statement on the future of Scottish commercial deer farming;

(2) what research his Department is currently undertaking on commercial deer farming; and when he expects to publish the latest findings of such research.

Mr. Hugh D. Brown

Government-sponsored research on the potential of the red deer as a commercial animal is being carried out jointly by the Hill Farming Research Organisation and the Rowett Research Institute. The latest findings on their research work are expected to be published later this year. The Highlands and Islands Development Board has acquired an estate in Argyllshire to carry out a pilot commercial deer farming project based on the work of these institutes. In addition to these projects, I am aware that deer are being farmed on a small scale on at least four privately-owned estates.

Deer farming is still in the experimental stage and it would be prudent to await further results before reaching conclusions.