The Richmond Park deer cull begins on Monday 2 November. During that time there will be no access to Richmond Park for cars, bicycles or pedestrians from 8pm to 7.30am. The Royal Parks have issued the following statements on the cull:
There are 2 culls in Richmond Park – the males in February and the females in November. The cull is necessary in order to maintain the number of deer in the park and prevent overgrazing which would ultimately result in starvation. It is also the reason why Royal Parks’ herds are in excellent condition.
As a member of the British Deer Society, The Royal Parks takes deer welfare very seriously. Deer populations are actively managed to keep herds at a sustainable size.
If animals were not removed, food would become scarce and more animals would ultimately suffer. 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. Attempting to maintain too many deer within a restricted park area would soon lead to a build-up of parasites and other pathogens causing disease in the deer.
The Royal Parks does not administer contraceptives to deer through feed or injections. There are no contraceptives licensed for use in the UK. These techniques are still in the experimental stage in both Europe and the USA and there are concerns that contraceptives introduced through feed and not consumed by the deer herd would impact negatively on other species. To inject contraceptives requires a high degree of human intervention which is highly stressful for the deer as they are not able to be herded like farmed animals. In consultation with our veterinary advisor, however, we are carefully monitoring the worldwide development of technology to limit deer populations and will continue to keep our policies for the management of deer under review. Where the opportunity arises to move deer to other deer parks we do so. This opportunity is rare given that wild populations of all species of deer are increasing nationally.
The British Deer Society and the Deer Initiative of England and Wales fully endorse humane culling as best practice in deer herd management and The Royal Parks is an expert manager of enclosed wild deer herds. The deer in the Royal Parks are under veterinary supervision and all aspects of their welfare are monitored regularly
The relevant page on The Royal Parks' web site is here. Their "Deer in The Royal Parks" leaflet is below.
30th October 2014