BASC Northern Ireland has called for a deer stakeholder group to be formed ahead of two pieces of legislation, which will have major implications for deer management and welfare in the Province, starting their progress through Stormont this month.
The new Wildlife Order may see the season for culling deer extended, whilst calls for the introduction of night shooting are also being considered. The new Forestry Bill sees the Forest Service making a bid to obtain powers to allow their rangers to be exempt from the terms of the Wildlife Order and allowed to cull deer at any time of the day or night, and at any time of the year. This would have massive implications for deer welfare as well as health and safety.
Given the serious issues being addressed by these two pieces of legislation, BASC has called for a new Northern Ireland Deer Stakeholder Group to be formed. BASC has written to the Department of the Environment to seek their involvement and it is hoped that the new group will be in place early in the autumn.
BASC Director for Northern Ireland, Roger Pollen, said "We are very pleased that the Department of the Environment has agreed to meet with the various deer interests. We hope that the creation of a deer stakeholder group will help to ensure the best legislation is developed which will balance deer management and welfare with environmental and conservation interests. We hope that Forest Service will also recognise the need to work within the same framework as the rest of the woodland and forest management sector and not develop its own practices and legal exemptions."