Fresh Foot and Mouth Fears Over Deer Populations as Hunting Poised to Restart
The League Against Cruel Sports today claimed the spread of foot and mouth throughout the countryside was still a huge risk with the danger of hounds chasing deer.
Fox hunting in foot and mouth free areas is set to resume by December 17.
But the Government has said the hunting of deer with dogs should continue to be prohibited in any part of the FMD controlled area (currently the whole of England and Wales) as deer is a susceptible species.
However, the League believes deer populations could still be unwittingly disturbed and spread about by rioting foxhounds, thus posing a risk of further spread of foot and mouth.
There are several breeds of deer covering a large area of the UK, including the Fallow, Red and Roe breeds. It's thought they number between one and two million, with particularly high concentrations in the South-West of England.
League chief executive Douglas Batchelor said today: "We have evidence of fox hounds rioting after deer in other parts of the country and therefore we would consider it to be an unnecessary risk to the countryside."
He added: "The majority of the public and MPs in this country consider hunting to be cruel, and for that reason alone it should not have been given the go-ahead. But it is also a non-essential activity that could have devastating effects on the countryside."