Fox cub killing by Hartpury students 'not act of cruelty'

Hartpury College
Image caption Hartpury College said the students involved had been suspended pending further investigations

Students who filmed themselves killing an injured fox cub and then posted the footage on social media have been suspended, their college has confirmed.

The cub was hit by a vehicle close to Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.

One of the students, who was training to be a gamekeeper, dispatched the cub with a knife on Monday to prevent it from suffering, police said.

The act of killing was not cruel but sharing the footage on Snapchat was "unacceptable", the college said.

An online petition calling for the students involved to be excluded from the college has attracted more than 2,000 signatures.

'End its suffering'

The college said earlier it was following its disciplinary procedures and the students had been suspended from the college.

It said further action would be taken once it had concluded its investigations.

The college said it had also received threats on social media and in response had decided to cancel an Open Farm Sunday event at the college amid safety fears.

In a statement the college said: "The fox cub was injured in a road traffic accident involving some of our students.

"One of the students acted to dispatch the injured fox to cease its suffering.

"The college and the police are satisfied that the decision to end the fox's life was made only with the intention to end its suffering and this was not an act of animal cruelty."

A spokesman said the filming and sharing of the death on social media had made the incident "even more distressing".

"We consider this to be completely unacceptable and have made this clear to our students," he said.

The RSPCA said it was continuing to investigate the death.

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