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Animal rights protesters held a demonstration on Saturday (2nd) over deer culling in Richmond Park.


Around 20 protesters gathered outside Richmond station at 1pm and marched through Richmond high street finishing the march at the park gates. Schnews spoke to one of the organisers, Lesley Dove: “We received a mixed reception from the public, some ignored us but a few did sign the petition. We handed out over 500 leaflets.

Deer culling is the widely used method to control deer populations. The annual deer cull in England ranges from 70,000 to over 100,000. The deer are culled using a high powered rifle, some shots of course do hit the mark but end up wounding rather than killing, causing the deer to escape alive but injured. Richmond Park is the largest of the eight royal parks and also the largest enclosed area in London. Bushy Park is another site where deer culling takes place, lying north of Hampton Court Palace, it is the second largest of London's royal parks.

Lesley added: "During the past twenty years there have been at least three major campaigns. The first one was carried out by the old SAS Kingston Group. They held demonstrations and had good press coverage. The second one was held by the deceased Philip Gunstone. Philip had several meeting with all concerned with the cull re contraception etc and his MP was very sympathetic. He also managed to hide in the park over night and film a shoot. He also discovered that all the dead animals had labels attached to them and the labels were all addressed to senior members of parliament and House of Lords. Again the local press covered his investigation. The third campaign was carried out thoroughly by LACS about five or six years ago." Campaigners believe the cull is cruel and unnecessary.

A spokesperson from Richmond Park argued the cull is necessary to avoid the spread of disease among the deer population. The park can apparently only support 630 deer, with 170 to 200 “bambi” additions each year. Too many deer, he argues, will lead “to the increase of parasites and other pathogens” within the deer population. That may be true to a degree especially given the size of the enclosed area, as green areas have been downsized so much in recent years; however it does not mean that there are not kinder and non lethal alternatives out there. It is not lack of other solutions that continues this cruel and unnecessary practise but once again a matter of cost.

There is a fund-raiser coming up on Friday 15th March to raise money for the campaign to the end the deer cull. The event will include an evening of music, quiz, socialising and games, £7 entry in advance, or £10 on the door. The location of the event is at Kingston Environment Centre, Fairfield East, KT1 2PT London.

Details of the event can be found on: www.facebook.com/events/270832306376234/

For more information and updates for London Animal Rights group check: www.meetup.com/animalrights-202/

Photo courtesy of Gail Orenstein
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