Jul 252014

Old Susannah locks horns with deer-slaying officials while wading through city documents on the deer slaughter going on around us.  By Suzanne Kelly.

DictionaryDoe! Old Susannah’s been home reading stacks of paperwork received from the City, in response to a freedom of information request. These papers are the basis for some Aberdeen Voice stories on the city’s deer ‘management’ and other issues. More coming soon.

Aberdeen City Council officers are none too pleased by this, as we’ve found out some, just the tip of the iceberg really, of what they’ve been playing at with the SNH’s blessing. Basically, we may have as few as nineteen deer left in the entire city. That’s from Danestone to Cove, Tullos to Cults. And of course, they want to kill more.

Some poor chap in Cults whose property borders the countryside says that scores of deer are coming into his garden, depositing ticks and nibbling at his little courgettes.

In effect, he wants the city to come and blast the creatures. Based on his verbal evidence this is what’s happening.

In other parts of the city, attempted dog thefts were reported; staffies were found with horrific fighting injuries, cats have disappeared, and a dog fighting ring was exposed some years back.

Well, in the same lot of correspondence in which the city is looking for ways to help kill the deer in Cults, it is also dryly explained that the police and the city aren’t interested in looking into dog fighting, because there is no actual evidence or eyewitnesses. One rule for one, it seems.

Alas! The city will be further embarrassed. The documents show that the city did not want the public to get too many facts about what’s going on.

A councillor had asked questions about roe deer culling and population, and the reply explains that the officer is afraid of giving too much information away. In another instance, deer were trapped in an enclosure on Tullos over a weekend, with not much to eat as the plants had all been killed by spraying.

The correspondence between the City’s people shows how these things work. For one thing, no one cares what happens in our parks at weekends, so don’t leave a message if it’s urgent.

Secondly, when the problem of two trapped, frightened deer was discovered, our trusty City operatives couldn’t decide whether to find a way to open the gate and shoo them out – difficult, admittedly; or just to shoot them. Decisions, decisions. Those involved were in agreement on one thing though: to solve the problem before the Evening Express got wind of it.

Got to get those priorities right you know.

The SNH thinks we should follow its non-binding guidelines, and have a maximum population on Tullos of three or four deer. How the roe deer survived for the past seven decades, minimum, with a fluctuating herd of three to five dozen is miraculous.

I’m glad the city thinks everyone knows and obeys all wildlife rules

Of course, the deer are deadly. We had a very small number of automobile incidents over the years, let’s just say slightly less in number than drunk driving and speeding-related accidents. My suggestion of putting up signs to warn motorists of deer crossing was dismissed.

As the documents explain, people don’t pay attention to signs.

Think on that when you see all the signs on the roads when you’re out and about. As per Aberdeen Voice and Evening Express articles, the remains of some animals were found in very suspicious circumstances. I had suggested erecting ‘no hunting or poaching’ signs at the park entrance. This was dismissed because you can’t put up signs for every illegal act.

I’m glad the city thinks everyone knows and obeys all wildlife rules, irrespective of their backgrounds, education and culture. So, no signs about not killing the deer, even though they were clearly being killed. Unless they’ve taken to surgically dismembering themselves.

Think on that when you next go to the ‘fun’ beach and see the signs prohibiting half a dozen recreational activities.  Trust your officials, they know what’s best. Maybe not what is best for you, for wildlife or for our levels of pollution, but they know what’s best for them.

Do feel free to drop your councillors and the architects of the deer’s demise, Aileen Malone, Peter Leonard, the SNH and ranger Ian Talboys a note of thanks. Ian is also on the board of an SNH- and taxpayer-funded group which encourages deer killing.

You will find their email addresses here. Let’s not forget well-paid consultant Chris Piper; he definitely got a quick buck from this wheeze.

Will anyone take responsibility, sorry, credit, for the crash in the deer population? No, they’re all busy being fawned over at award ceremonies for planting trees.

It wouldn’t be fair to blame LibDem Aileen HoMalone, except that for one thing she tried to blackmail animal lovers before the first Tullos cull:  pay £200,000+ for fencing, or we’ll kill deer, and the LibDem’s only election pledge adhered to was this tree scheme.

It wouldn’t be fair to blame the officers who kept repeating that we suddenly had more deer than we could manage, and who allowed 34 or 35 deer to be killed on Tullos alone in the first ‘tree for every citizen’ cull, when the agreed report said that 22 would be killed.

We were given that land to look after; we failed

It wouldn’t be right to blame the ranger, who insisted that the fairly new, and assuredly contentious SNH guidelines were put in place.

He was only following SNH orders: except that these were only guidance, and in no way legally binding.

And we all know we must follow orders without question.

That’s why the City keeps class sizes within the legal limits, for instance. It would also be wrong to blame the council for the fact that we’ve lost the parking lot near Nexen that we used to own, and the path that led from it to the hill. We were given that land to look after; we failed, and we lost it back to the private sector, conveniently for those who wanted to build on it.

No, clearly no one bears any responsibility for any of these trivial problems, and any day now there will be a lovely forest on Tullos. I’d start shopping for picnic baskets and blankets. Any day now, the nutritious soil of Tullos will produce a beautiful forest of healthy trees, trees which soon will be nearly as tall as the weeds surrounding them.

The Evening Express has two articles for your enjoyment


It’s time for some definitions relating to this week’s news from the Granite City and beyond.

Corporate Responsibility: (Modern English compound noun) The concept that a business entity’s officers, shareholders and affiliates are responsible for the ethics, behaviour, financial health and operation of the entity.

Poor Mr Donald Trump, some people just don’t understand business, so he’s just a poor misunderstood paper billionaire. So what if he’s declared bankruptcy four or so times, leaving creditors to go belly up? It’s really not his fault. I know this because he says so.

And it’s certainly not his fault that some of the casinos in Atlantic City are to lay off 1400 or so people. One or two of the casinos may bear his name, but as he’ll tell you, these businesses, with twenty-foot high letters spelling out his name are obviously nothing to do with him. After all, he can’t be everywhere at once, can he?

There’s only so much that a poor guy can take on, even if he does have the business acumen and expertise of Sara Malone Bates to rely on.

So come on now, let’s stop picking on the poor guy. It’s not as if there’s some link between the Trumpster and Trump Plaza casino, unless you count:

“…Mr. Trump serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Trump Atlantic City Associates (Trump AC) and has been President since June 2000. He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Trump Atlantic City Funding Inc. (Trump AC Funding) since June 2000. He has been the President of Trump Atlantic City Funding Inc., Trump Atlantic City Funding II Inc. and Trump Atlantic City Funding III Inc., since June 2000 … He has been the President of Trump Atlantic City Holding Inc., Trump Atlantic City Corporation … Mr. Trump has been the President and Treasurer of Trump Casinos Inc. (TCI). He served as Treasurer of Trump’s Castle Funding Inc. (Castle Funding) until April 1998 … He served as the Chief Executive Officer of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Funding Inc. and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Holdings L.P since June 2000. He served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Trump Entertainment Resorts Funding, Inc. .. from June 2000 to 2005. He served as President of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. (THCR), Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Funding Inc. (THCR Funding) and Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings, L.P. (a/k/a Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Holdings LP (THCR Holdings)) …” http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=341397&privcapId=927734

Visit this link for the whole list of companies Trump is an executive of, but has no relationship with, if you have a few spare hours to get through the whole list.

So you see, there’s no story there.  I hope that’s drawn a line under it for you.

The funny thing is, some people suspect that there may be some dodgy financial dealings in Atlantic City, and that the underworld may be involved. Just because BBC’s Panorama found a link between Donald Trump and the criminal element is no more reason to think he’s involved with crime, than there is any reason to think he’s involved with any of the Trump casino businesses in New Jersey.

Do enjoy your game of golf at Trump Scotland Menie Links or Trump Turnberry, safe in the knowledge that the 1400 people about to lose their jobs, and the thousands who have lost their livelihoods previously, are not likely to rub shoulders with you at a Trump golf resort. Fore!

Gene Pool (English compound noun) The potential for genetic variation within a particular species or population of a species of animal.

I’m sure we’ll all be celebrating how the Tullos Hill tree saplings were rescued from the roe deer peril. Congratulations to those who left us with three or four deer on a hill that for decades supported several dozen animals.

A spoilsport however might question the science behind the rationale for exterminating the critters. These small deer live for six or seven years on average, and are

“65–75 cm (2.1–2.5 ft), and a weight of 15–35 kg (33–77 lb)”

and females usually bear one young per year.  Such a person may conclude that the Tullos Hill roe deer gene pool has been destroyed.

According to the boffins at ‘How Stuff works’ , you need a few animals to have a healthy gene pool:

“A large gene pool provides a good buffer against genetic diseases. Some of the common genetic problems that occur when the gene pool shrinks include:

  • Low fertility
  • Deformities
  • Genetic diseases

“The two most common places to see these effects are in animals nearing extinction and in animal breeds.”

So now that we have the ‘manageable’ figure of three or four Tullos roe left, perhaps the Danestone, Sheddocksley and Cults deer will hop on a bus to Tullos for dating purposes. Perhaps the SNH, ‘Scottish Natural Heritage’ to some, ‘Shootin ‘n Huntin’ to others, have achieved what some say was their and the City’s aim: get rid of the creatures altogether and grow some trees, which hopefully can be felled and sold.

The SNH, paid for by our taxes, in turn funds a private group, Lowland Deer Network Scotland, which lobbies local government to shoot deer, in partnership with other government members, funders and pro-hunting groups. Well done guys.

And well done in particular to ranger Ian Talboys, who is on this committee. It would be a shame if someone looked into the amounts of money involved, the group’s structure (it’s not listed with Companies House) and asked questions about the use of taxpayers’ money by a national government entity to push policy onto local government. No, that would be awful.

All of the stats about how the deer will suffer if not culled to these numbers sound very scientific, but they ignore little things like the gene pool, and that being free and grazing on grass, which is apparently their preferred food, is better than being dead. Trebles all round, and enjoy your free venison, City and SNH boffins: you’ve earned it.

And that’s some of what’s been going on in the ‘Deen this week.

Later this week:  Some definitions about our privacy, and monitoring by Inspired and others. Feel free to go about your normal business: someone is monitoring your every move and storing the data, permanently.

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  One Response to “Old Susannah No.158: The Blameless And The Shameless”

  1. Bang on the nail, Suzanne! Always the problem – one lie necessitates another and then another until the cover-up becomes unsustainable.

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