It’s the debate we weren’t supposed to hear, it seems, and there is suspicion that the full facts were held back from publication to Aberdeen residents. Public opposition to a controversial scheme seems to be growing. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.
The first advert appeared in Aberdeen’s Evening Express on 7 September, and it appears again in the 21 September issue of Aberdeen Citizen.
Campaigners will also be out in force in Aberdeen city centre this Saturday (24 September).
“The City Council may think they can go ahead with the cull of the roe deer unnoticed,” campaigner Suzanne Kelly said, “but the truth is the opposition is growing daily. People are watching the hill and reporting anything that might indicate a cull.”
A postcard campaign with a strong graphic encourages people to write to Aberdeen City Council Chief Executive, Valerie Watts.
The advertising campaign spells out some of the many reasons why opponents are so fierce in condemning the Council’s plans. These reasons include:
- The cull was already being planned (as per correspondence in November 2010 between Aberdeen City Council and Scottish Natural Heritage) but was kept out of the Phase 2 public consultation. This consultation mentioned rabbits and therefore gave the impression that these were the only species affected by the massive tree plantation. Current public objections would have been made during the consultation had the public been properly informed that a cull was planned. Many people therefore feel misled by the Council and the scheme’s main proponent, Councillor Aileen Malone.
- The Scottish SPCA calls the cull ‘abhorrent and absurd’ – to kill animals to protect trees that aren’t even planted and which could go elsewhere, is wrong. They will support culling only for animal welfare reasons
- The City Council recently had to return £43,800 to the Forestry Commission for a failed planting on Tullos Hill. It certainly seems the Council tried to keep that information under wraps. Taxpayers could spend over £100,000 if further planting goes wrong, according to the Forestry Commission
- Since the cull was made public, several community councils, representing tens of thousands of local residents, condemned it and complained about the lack of proper consultation. Over 2,400 people locally signed petitions, and hundreds of letters of protest were sent to the Council. Still the Council refuses to back down
- The Council has turned down or ignored offers from experts including Animal Concern to provide other non-lethal solutions, of which there are many
- There is already an eco-system on Tullos Hill which includes flora and fauna; changing it makes no sense
A hunter in camouflage gear with a gun on Tullos Hill was reported to police by a dog-walker on 5 September, but the police are neither confirming the report nor supplying any further information at present.
Earlier this month, the City Council mentioned the tree planting scheme, but not the deer cull, in a full colour, four page Aberdeen Citizen supplement touting its environmental credentials. Campaigners against the cull have not yet been able to find out the cost to the public of this supplement.
Anyone opposed to this cull or who wants further information can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The response the advertisement received when first launched was overwhelming; the email inbox is overflowing with people – 100% of whom oppose the Council’s plans and the handling of the whole affair. I do hope that commonsense will prevail and this scheme will be altered to spare the deer. With a previous planting on the hill already costing the taxpayer £43,800 – the City must come up with a better plan and halt this senseless cull,” said Kelly.
The cull could begin in October this year; it is likely that the killing would continue for several years.