HSA news release 10th March 1995

Campaigners look on in horror as hounds rip deer's throat out

For the second time in as many months, campaigners from the Wildlife Action group have captured the New Forest Buckhounds killing deer with appalling cruelty, breaking the terms of their Forestry Commission licence.

At about noon today, two Wildlife Action members looked on in horror as the whole pack of hounds attacked the deer which they had cornered by a tree. In flagrant breach of the hunt's claims that the hounds never touch the hunted deer but merely bring it to bay, the hounds, unsupervised by hunt members, trapped the deer up against a tree, leapt snarling at the terrified deer and ripped the wretched creature's throat out, fighting among themselves to tear at the exhausted animal's body. The horrific torture went on for some five minutes before any member of the hunt arrived on the scene, making a mockery of the hunt's claims that hunted deer are brought to bay and a huntsman is immediately on the scene to kill it with a pistol.

In mid-January, Wildlife Action filmed a Master of the hunt and a hunt supporter holding a deer underwater, after a chase of over six miles, standing on the deer's head until it drowned. They called on the Forestry Commission to suspend the Buckhounds' licence to hunt in the New Forest then, but no action was taken. Now, after they have been caught in scenes of appalling cruelty on film for a second time, the pressure on the Forestry Commission to ban this disgusting hunt is overwhelming.

The hunt are allowed to carry out their revolting activities on Forestry Commission land under licence from the Commission, a government agency under the control of Agriculture Minister William Waldegrave. Campaigners are now calling for the licence to be revoked and for the hunting of deers to be banned. Not only do the Commission allow the hunt to carry on on their land, but they actually supply Commission keepers to help the hunt find deers to hunt and kill. These keepers are paid by the Commission with taxpayers' money: the people of Britain who are overwhelmingly opposed to deerhunting are unwittingly subsidising this horrendous cruelty, courtesy of William Waldegrave, a known hunt supporter.

These revolting scenes come just a week after parliament voted to ban deer hunting in the debate on John McFall's Wild Mammals Protection Bill that pro-hunt MPs have sworn they will wreck with parliamentary procedures after John Major refused to allow parliamentary time. A copy of the video has been sent to the MP for Southampton Itchen, John Denham, who was a strong supporter of the bill: there has never been such damning evidence to prove the urgent need for an immediate ban on the hunting of wild animals for sport.

The HSA and Wildlife Action are calling for firm action against the hunt:

  • the Buckhounds' license to hunt in the New Forest must be immediately suspended, pending a detailed investigation of whether there can be a long-term future for hunting in the New Forest;
  • an immediate suspension of all Forestry Commission involvement with, and support of, hunting.