Richmond deer culls call for costumes after 140,000 signature petition

A charity founder dressed as the Grim Reaper was seen protesting deer culls outside Richmond Park last Friday, six years after a petition to protect the species.

Urban Squirrels founder Natalia Doran, 58, was protesting against the practice of reducing a wild animal population by selective slaughter.

Two deer culls are held overnight twice a year across a six-week period in the Royal Parks across London. The males in February and the females in November are culled by trained marksmen.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Animal Aid revealed that a total of 1,734 red and fallow deer were culled in the Royal Parks across a 5-year period between 2013 and 2018.

Doran, who is on the council of Animal Aid, said: “For me animals are sentient living breathing creatures who just want to live and the fact that their lives are taken for no good reason is awful.

“It’s even worse for members of the public because they don’t even know this is going on and when they find out they’re usually quite shocked but for me it’s actually a senseless killing.”

Keven Law via CC BY-SA 2.0

A Royal Parks spokesperson stated on their website that the culls are necessary in order to maintain the number of deer in the park and prevent overgrazing which would ultimately result in starvation.

The spokesperson said: “Without population control, there would be other welfare issues such as low body fat, malnutrition and high incidence of death from exposure to cold in winter.”

Low-key protests are held nonstop outside the Royal Parks across the cull periods with a few people attending each time.

Urban Squirrels handed in a petition to the Royal Parks in 2017 on the Care2 platform which gathered 140,000 signatures and which was actively supported by the national animal protection organization Animal Aid.

The aim of the petition was to call on the Royal Parks to stop the culling of healthy animals and to conduct a scientific assessment of the biological and cultural carrying capacity of the parks and adopt non-lethal alternatives of population control if it was shown to be necessary which can be seen in full here:

Royal Parks make clear that the current oral contraceptives similar to the ones used by humans cannot be fed to animals due to the fact various creatures are free to pick on the leftover deer feed which would impact all wildlife within the park.

The organisation specifies that it is in consultation with its veterinary advisor, and that they are carefully monitoring the worldwide development of technology to limit deer populations, and that it will continue to keep its policies for the management of deer under review.

Asked whether the Royal Parks were likely to change their approach, Doran said: “I believe in social progress. I was born in the Soviet Union so I’ve seen things change rapidly and dramatically.

“You never know, they might want to change things and they might want to improve their image and that will be, you know, in their time”.

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Brendan Anderson
Brendan Anderson
27 February 2023 11:10 am

She is the grim reaper for the Red squirrels as well
And the deer cull is a job that has to be done and i would expect the meat will be used also so nothing will go to waist and the Grey squirrels and the parakeets should be culled as well

Last edited 1 year ago by Brendan Anderson

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