MEP Goes Deer Stalking

30 July 2009
On Monday (3 August) SNP MEP Alyn Smith will slip out of his polished political shoes and step into a pair of sturdy walking boots for a packed day of deer stalking.

As part of his annual work experience programme, Smith will spend the day at Invermark Estate, Brechin, observing the daily tasks of Head Keeper, Fred Taylor and his colleagues. He will also go trekking up in the hills, ensuring he gets a real insight into their work.

Work experience is an annual event, with Smith using the first two weeks of the parliamentary recess to go work in a variety of industries which have crossed his desk, and has seen him spend two days at sea on a trawler out of Mallaig, a day in a slaughterhouse in Aberdeenshire, with a vet in Shetland, a binman in Glasgow and a dairy farm in East Lothian, amongst others.

Smith's visit to Brechin precedes Eat Scottish Venison Day, due to be held on 4 September. This is a national awareness campaign, launched by The Scottish Venison Working Group, encouraging consumers to eat Scottish venison. Its main focus will be to inform consumers where to buy and eat Scottish venison, as well as providing recipes from chefs and serving suggestions submitted by the public.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Smith said:

"I am very much looking forward to a hard day's graft at Invermark Estate and have my fingers crossed for good weather.

"Venison is as much a part of Scottish tradition and culture as haggis, pipes and kilts, with the red deer recently voted Scotland's most iconic animal. However, its importance and the journey from hill to plate is often overlooked. I hope that my work experience visit, coupled with the Eat Scottish Venison Day, raises the profile of Scottish venison and ensures its health benefits are more widely shared. The venison sector is of significant value to the Scottish economy, worth an estimated ÂŁ70.4 million pounds per annum, and accounts for 966 direct jobs and a further 1554 full time equivalents.

"It is therefore imperative that we keep this industry alive and put this healthy produce firmly on the map."

Factor, Mr Cooke said:

"We were delighted to receive a request from Alyn Smith for a day's experience of deer stalking at Invermark Estate. We expect to give him a good walk on the hill and to talk to him about the management of the deer and wildlife on the Estate and he should find it interesting and relevant to his interest in rural affairs. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us and he will enjoy his day out."