004. Red Deer Welfare Equation - Nov 2006

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Welfare Equation - Further factors and comments, which weight the above duration of suffering conclusion, further in favor of hunting methods.

Degree of suffering – A hunted deer which escapes, or is released, having been brought to bay, will quickly recover, and learn from the experience. A wounded deer may recover, but many will die long lingering deaths if they cannot be followed up, located and dispatched.

Ethics of Instantaneous Death – Hunting methods give the best prospect of providing an instantaneous death. Movement of deer, foxes and hares when shot at, will restrict accuracy.

Duration of all suffering curtailed by hunting methods

a. Casualty services - curtailing suffering of all casualty deer reported to, and or found by the hunting processes, including the wounded, injured, sick, and those going back.

b. Communal control of the management activities, wide reporting of problems, accurate deer counts, and common interest in deer welfare leading to large healthy visible herds.

c. Deer Management Group support and cooperation amongst virtually all land custodians – discouraging poaching, and unauthorised shooting or trophy hunting,

Importance of Selectivity – Careful selection before culling to standards not possible in stalking.

Realistic average wounding rates – The above figures and those for the fox below, are based on a best case scenario – not average wounding rates.

Length of time all body shot deer take to die – Mostly drowning in their own blood.

Welfare cost of stalking - Proven to be a noxious stimulant on deer health and welfare – for example reduced body size (Batchelor 1993).

Ethics of sporting chance – Healthy hunted deer have a 50% chance of evading the hounds. Some old stags have been hunted over three times.

Value of clean carcass – Not achieved with body shots from a distance – A key factor in the provision of a high quality meat. Hunting produces the highest quality glycogen depleted meat.

Summary - Primary factors in establishing humaneness, minimising cruelty and eliminating unnecessary suffering for deer, foxes and hares.

1. Ability to move, disperse, inspect and locate species.

2. Careful selection of the individual before culling where possible, or conditions where the species is tested for health and ability – Survival of the fittest.

3. Instantaneous death, or the best prospect of an instantaneous death – Close range shot to cranium (deer), or neck broken by leading hound (instinctive action to avoid fox’s sharp teeth).

4. No or low wounding rates.

5. Ability to quickly follow up a wounded or casualty animal for humane dispatch.

6. Immediate availability of efficient professional casualty or callout services.

These factors are key features within hunting normally absent in stalking or shooting.