HomeWelfare003. Red Deer Welfare Equation

003. Red Deer Welfare Equation

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Comparing suffering between hunting and stalking methods - The extent of the poor welfare can be multiplied by duration of poor welfare as an estimate of the severity of the problem - Broom and Johnson 1993 Stress and Animal Welfare London: Chapman & Hall

A. HUNTING - 100 deer moved by soft temperament scent hounds, and culled when at bay by a close range head shot, to give the best prospect of a selective instantaneous death.

Moving the deer involves low degree recoverable fatigue, described by some as recoverable stress or suffering (the alleged damage has not been defined or proved). Welfare is compromised only during the final stages of the hunt - Burns Inquiry Qualifications. Duration on a worst assessment of an average of 15 minutes before dispatch. (The Joint University Study concluded that it may be no more than 10 minutes, recently confirmed by further unpublished research) - Deer choose where to go, what to do, and when to stop. Over their lives, before they are selected for culling, they become familiar with hounds, and will suffer no more than recoverable fatigue or stress - Mentally and physically they are not damaged.

100 units x duration 1/4 hr = 25 hours of compromise of welfare - fatigue or stress.

There are ethical bonus's of an instantaneous death, a sporting chance and a clean quality carcass. We claim that such low degree recoverable fatigue or stress is necessary, in order to avoid the inevitable unnecessary suffering in rifle shooting, and to allow the curtailment of all degrees of natural and casualty suffering by the good selective management of hunting methods. Up to 50% of deer are selected by the local harbourer/deer manager because they are already suffering from sickness, casualty or genetic problems. The hunt's key role is to reduce this suffering. (Bateson, JU Study, ISHA & BWM). Others are harvested at maturity. Hounds ensure selectivity not achieved in rifle shooting. With wild red deer in the difficult terrain in the West Country, hounds are at least 5 x more efficient in following up specific casualties, than a single or pair of mute scent or blood trailing hounds. In practice, such suitable stalkers dogs with skilled handlers and access rights, rarely exist. In work scent hounds assist in the much wider range of essential roles of inspecting, dispersing, locating, and quickly bringing to bay a distressed animal. Action taken to remove or restrict hound use leads to an increase in all suffering, and in consequence causes unnecessary suffering.

B. STALKING - 100 deer body shot by rifle. Head or neck shots are not recommended. Human error leading to loss of wounded deer (5% Bateson Report - 15% BWM) - Two shots needed (11% Bateson Report) - No instantaneous death (70% JU Study - Thomas & Allen) -. Our wounding figures were only optimistic in as much as they represented a best case scenario – Bradshaw and Bateson in Animal Welfare.

100 x min of 5% best case, minimum lost wounded = 5 units of high degree non-recoverable suffering for the duration of 50 hrs = 250 hrs of suffering. 

Simple Solution - Hunting is more humane than stalking by a factor of at least 10 (25 hrs v 250 hrs) on culling comparisons, before the figures are weighted for the duration of all suffering curtailed by hunting methods, such the casualty services, and the communal control of the management activities, through Deer Management Group support and cooperation The following important factors are not included above. Degree of suffering, ethics of instantaneous death, importance of selectivity, realistic average wounding rates, ethics of sporting chance and clean carcasses, length of time all body shot deer take to die, and of the welfare cost of stalking, as a proven noxious stimulant on deer welfare (Batchelor 1993). 

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