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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Concerns Over Haggis Production

In the aftermaths of Burns Suppers across Scotland there has been renewed concern for sustainable sourcing of the principle component of the meal, the Haggis.

by Glen Cole

It is known in the North East that Haggis are commonly found in the upper highlands and migrate down towards the lower glens to breed during the summer months. However, they are famously shy and avoid areas where tourists congregate, making them a rare sight and fuelling some myths that they aren’t animals at all.

Haggis are easily identifiable by the lengths of their legs. One side of legs is always significantly shorter than the other in order to allow them to more easily run circularly around the steep slopes of their native mountains. There are two distinct branches species: the clockwise and counter-clockwise branches. Due to their inability to turn without rolling down the steep clothes these two branches have evolved completely independently from each other for at least 30,000 years, some zoologists claim.

However, this quirk of evolution is vital to the hunting of these majestic creatures.  Specially trained haggis hunters known as “Skelpers” have developed a strategy to supplant the animals from the mountainside for easy collection.

The Skelpers carefully camouflage themselves during the night and wait for the Haggis to begin their morning circling of the mountain. After the sun rises the Skelper will attempt to scare the notoriously shy creature, causing it to turn and tumble-down mountain to a large net installed to catch it unharmed (before it is boiled and made into food)

Concerns have been raised over the sustainability of this practice when it became clear that the skillset required is gradually being lost due to the uptake in vegetarian Haggis. While much easier to hunt than their meat-based counterparts, they also require considerably less land to be maintained to support them and may result in the unemployment of hundreds of Skelpers.

However, a spokesperson for the Skelper Union has informed The Gaudie that many are now seeking employment as nightclub promoters, as a similar skill set is required.


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