HUNTING - NEW EVIDENCE OF SUFFERING
South West is the most common- if not the only - area of the UK
where stag hunting with hounds takes place.
Out reveals startling new evidence about the extent to which hunted
story begins in 1997 when Professor Patrick Bateson - one of the
country's foremost animal behaviour experts - was asked by the National
Trust to study whether hunted deer suffer.
concluded they did, especially in the final stages of the chase.
a result the National Trust banned stag hunting on its land.
surprisingly, Professor Bateson's work was challenged by hunt supporters
who were enraged by the ban.
by the criticism, Professor Bateson has now reviewed his initial
Bateson claims that having looked again at his observations, the
deer become tired and start suffering as long as two and a half
hours before the end of the chase. He
"We could see just how well they could jump fences and whether
they started to look tired."
often than not, it was taking more than 90 minutes and up to 2 and
a half hours from when they are first observed [as suffering] to
when they are killed."
Bateson says his findings could be used to make hunting less cruel.
Perhaps by imposing a time limit on hunts.
Yandle, chairman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, still rejects
the idea that deer suffer for more than a few minutes. He
"We could make the hunts shorter but they would be ineffective."
do have to cull animals and it takes a long time to separate the
chosen deer from the herd at the beginning of the day's hunting."
hunted deer attempts escape|
Bateson’s evidence has now been handed to the government as it decides
whether to ban the hunting of foxes and deer.
Bateson believes further scientific study could provide a way forward
for both sides.
the government is under pressure to finally bring to an end to years
of debate on hunting.
time for research may be running out.
The hunt process
stag hunt is different. The process presented here is just a typical
hunt, as observed by the Inside Out team...
harbourer chooses the deer to be hunted, often the night before.
harbourer sets out on horseback with approx. 11 'tufters'.
These are older, experienced staghounds.
rouse the deer and start the hunt. To begin, the stag easily
outruns the hounds.
the stag is separated from the herd and is being pursued alone,
the job of the harbourer is done.
rest of the pack are brought from the kennels to persue the
stag and other riders join in.
the end, the stag is often tired and will find water to stay
in. This is called 'standing at bay'.
stag should be shot at close quaters. There have been reported
incidents of packs attacking the stag.
hounds are given the deer's innards as a 'prize'. The remaining
carcass is kept for human consumption.
can last a couple of hours or much longer. Each occasion will be
slightly different. Not
all hunts are 'successful'.
the stag gets away. Some research suggests that even if the animal
escapes, it may die later due to injuries sustained during the hunt.