Wildlife Action news release 30th March 1995

Forestry Commission HQ roof occupied in protest against buckhunts

Four anti-bloodsports campaigners are currently occupying the roof of the Forestry Commission HQ in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, in protest at the Commission's continued support of the New Forest Buckhounds .

The Buckhounds hunt in the New Forest under licence from the Commission, a public body which maintains that it grants the licence only with the strictest safeguards against misuse of the Forest or maltreatment of the deer. Yet despite this, the Commission has failed to act against the exclusive deer hunt after two sets of video footage recently revealed the true nature of their cruel malpractices.

In January Wildlife Action filmed a cornered deer being drowned in a stream by the hunt, as a hunt master apparently stood on its head to hold it underwater. Then only last month, another video showed the snarling pack of hounds surround another deer and rip its throat out . In the first instance Forestry Commission officials said they saw "nothing wrong" with the hunt's behaviour and in the second claimed, bizarrely, that the keeper had examined the deer's body and he "saw no marks on the body". This despite the fact that damning video evidence clearly shows that the deer had its throat ripped out. Alan Simpson MP called for an inquiry over the first incident and John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen, is pursuing the Forestry Commission for an explanation over the second video.

It is apparent that the Forestry Commission is less interested in its role of stewardship over the Forest and its wildlife than it is in protecting an exclusive hunt which has been publicly exposed for its cruelty. As they are not prepared to take any notice of evidence, and indeed are obviously prepared to lie to protect the hunt, today's action was felt to be necessary in an attempt to get them to take some notice and do the job they are paid to do with taxpayers' money.