The Royal Parks say the cull is necessary to keep numbers under control
The autumn deer cull has seen protestors gathering at the gates of Richmond Park, but the Royal Parks say it is necessary in keeping deer population numbers under control.
A group of around 10 protestors gathered with leaflets and placards at the Kingston gate of Richmond Park on Monday 5 November, the first night of the cull.
Both animal rights groups and protestors argue that the cull is wrong and say numbers could instead be kept under control by using oral contraception, some forms of which have already been tested in the USA, as a more humane alternative.
Justin Kerswell, campaigns manager at animal charity Viva!, said: “We call ourselves a nation of animal lovers, so why does every issue with wild animals seem to begin and end with a gun?
“If a problem with overpopulation can be proven then numbers can be managed in any number of non-violent ways, such as oral contraception. Sadly, it seems profit wins out over compassion in the Royal Parks.”
It has been claimed that the park makes around £30,000 in a year through the selling of meat from the deer that are killed.
However, the Royal Parks have maintained that if deer were not removed then there would be a shortage of food to go around which would ultimate lead to the suffering of many of the animals.
They added that trying to keep too many deer in a restricted park area could even lead to a development of parasites and other pathogens which could harm the deer.
“The parks are enclosed spaces with only enough grazing to sustain a finite number of healthy animals. If the cull did not take place then deer would suffer as a result of overcrowding and malnutrition, leading to starvation and death,” a Royal Parks Spokesman said.
“The Royal Parks’ policies on managing deer have been reviewed and agreed by the British Deer Society and other welfare organisations, and follow industry best practice to ensure that the herds remain healthy.”
The cull has been contended on numerous occasions, with protest marches, letter writing and petitions aiming to put an end to it.
The deer cull began on November 5 and will last for around 4 weeks during which time the park will be closed from 8pm until opening hours of 7.30am.
Photo courtesy of DavidGeen, with thanks.
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