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Sunday, 30 September, 2001, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Culled deer may be dumped
Deer
About 20,000 deer could require disposal
Plans to dump deer carcasses in burial pits because of export restrictions introduced as a result of foot-and-mouth disease are being considered by the Scottish Executive.

A spokesman for the executive said "all options" were being examined as up to 20,000 carcasses require disposal following this year's annual slaughter of hinds.

Normally two thirds of the cull is sold in continental Europe but the export ban on red meat has stopped the venison trade from Scotland.

Some landowners have suggested a surplus of venison on the domestic market could make a cull unprofitable.

Preparation of a burial pit
Scenes like these could be repeated for deer

That has raised fears some Scottish estates might leave carcasses to rot on the hillside where they were shot.

It is thought others might put off a cull until next year which could have environmental consequences and drive up the cost of the slaughter in 2002.

In the past 50 years the numbers of red deer in Scotland have trebled to around 300,000 and big herds can destroy young forestry plantations.

The executive spokesman said: "Officials have met with interested representatives and the environment and rural affairs department is looking at detailed options."

He added: "Game dealers may not continue to uplift carcasses if there is a further market failure.

'We want help'

"All options for disposal of excess carcasses, if that becomes necessary, are being evaluated and considered."

The Association of Deer Management Groups said there were concerns about falling prices and a collapse in the market.

However, a spokesman was insistent the cull would go ahead.

Chairman Stephen Gibbs said: "We don't want to get into a position of dumping carcasses on the hill, so in these circumstances burial is the only option.

"We want the executive to give us help before the market collapses."



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04 Sep 01 | Scotland
09 Dec 00 | Scotland
17 Sep 99 | Sheffield 99
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