The SGA back Cairngorms Protest

Placard saying: Save Gamekeeper Jobs at the Dalwhinnie Distillery, Scottish Highlands.

The Scottish Gamekeepers Association is set to back its members in the Cairngorms National Park by supporting a Protest against the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan.

A day of online action will take place on April 20th, kick-started by Grampian Moorland Group and supported by other moorland groups across the country.

The protest is also expected to gain backing from other rural interests such as shepherds and farmers, worried about the loss of good farmland to trees.

The Partnership Plan, put forward by the authority’s Board, proposes major changes to game bird and deer management in the Park, with a major drive for unfenced tree regeneration and planting.

Proposals regarding iconic deer, the SGA believes, are particularly distressing with potential widespread repercussions. 

The Partnership Plan promotes deer reductions of up to half (5-8% per sq km) of their present densities (11.5 per sq km) across the Park area.

The culls would be deeper than anywhere else in Scotland, with Scottish Government’s Deer Working Group report, due to go before Parliament, setting a nationwide target of 10 deer per sq km. 

A red deer Stag on a highland hill side.

The SGA, which represents over 5300 members in Scotland, believes the proposals will severely impact their members’ jobs in the Park, undermining business viability while being counterproductive in the drive to address climate, biodiversity and nature loss challenges.

As a result, the SGA will join the Online Protest on 20th April, and encourages other members and supporters, wherever they are, to show similar solidarity with their fellow workers in the Cairngorms National Park.

A Protest Page has been created on Facebook where those backing the action can post videos and posts in support, on April 20th.

Protestors can also post on their own personal platforms as well as signing an e-petition and emailing Cairngorms National Park Authority Convener Xander McDade, urging the Park Board to moderate its plans and to support rural workers; their skills and jobs.

“For many years now, our members have felt their contributions to the Park have been devalued.

“They don’t believe proposals are being driven by residents any more but by influential people within the Park’s structure who are driving other agendas,” said SGA Chairman Alex Hogg, MBE.

“SGA members have the skills to deliver humane deer management, within sensible timeframes. They have managed more deer than anyone else, over a million in a decade.

“However, the more the Park eats away at the viability of game operations, the more these skills will be lost. It is the same with the hill keepers who have always answered the call, voluntarily, to assist the Fire service in extinguishing wildfires. Our members can’t help deliver for climate, carbon or protecting red-listed wildlife if their jobs are no longer able to be financially supported."

A placard saying: Unjust Transition outside the Kinrara Distillery building

He added: “The Principles of a Just Transition to Net Zero by 2045 is that no one gets left behind. This Plan- as it stands- does not adhere to the Just Transition. It points to an unjust transition because there are no concrete plans to replace these jobs nor has there been any detailed discussions, on the ground, as to how some of the extreme proposals made their way into the Plan in the first place.

“Our members have vast land management knowledge and skills, forged and passed down over centuries. The Park should be working with them and harnessing that resource, not kicking the rug from under them.

“The Plan alienates rural workers and we urge the Park’s Board to reconsider, moderate drastic elements of the Plan and take people on the journey.”

 

For more detail on the Proposals the SGA opposes, go to: https://www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/latest-news/2022/2022-04-06-cairngorms-plan-why-we-support-the-protest.php

 

For those who want to join the Protest on 20th April

 

 

 

 

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