Protesters have exposed how trophy hunting tourists from around the world pay up to £25,000 to shoot and kill deer bred and kept at Woburn Deer Park.

Campaigners from local pressure group Bedfordshire Against Trophy Hunting (BATH) and the animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports launched a joint action calling for the deer park’s owners to end trophy hunting.

The park forms part of the Duke of Bedford’s Woburn Estate, which also includes the popular Woburn Safari Park and Woburn Abbey.

The protest involved over 50 people, including local residents, and drew a great deal of support from visitors to the Woburn Estate who were shocked to hear about the killings at a venue that presents itself as a family-friendly destination.

A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Against Trophy Hunting said:

“The public protest was just one of the activities in the current phase of the BATH campaign. Our actions will continue for as long as canned trophy hunting is casting its dark shadow across Woburn and Bedfordshire.

Our message to Andrew Russell, Duke of Bedford, is simple – it’s time to do the right thing. Your paying customers, tenants, staff, local residents and the general public don't want this to continue – stop the trophy hunting now, close the red stag breeding programme and respect the animals in your care, rather than continue to pursue this immoral trade.”

Emily Lawrence, regional campaign manager at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“The public often thinks trophy hunting is something that only happens overseas to lions, elephants and rhinos, so visitors to the Woburn Estate were absolutely horrified to hear the disturbing news that it is happening here in the UK, under our very noses at Woburn Deer Park.

“Woburn’s deer are being offered up to trophy hunters for big profits for no other reason than for the experience of shooting and killing a living animal. Trophy hunting is exploitation, not conservation, and we are calling on the Duke of Bedford to end this barbaric practice.”

Tour companies offer packages to shoot the exotic deer bred at the park, which include red stags with spectacular and oversized antlers – the trophy hunters pay up to £25,000 to shoot the deer and then pose with their bloodied corpses.

Hunters can also pay £7,000 to shoot and kill the Pere David deer, a species of deer that was previously on the endangered list. They are also able to shoot Soay sheep.

The practice is known as canned hunting, in which animals live in an enclosure with no chance of escape, making their deaths inevitable.

Bedfordshire Against Trophy Hunting at the Woburn demonstration

ENDS

 Notes to Editors

The Danish company Diana Limpopo Hunting Tours and the American company Europe Tours are two of the companies identified as offering trips to trophy hunters to Woburn Deer Park.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/13/price-list-shoot-rare-deer-trophy-hunting-woburn-abbey

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1049398/us-hunters-pay-thousands-to-hunt-englands-stages-animal-hunting

I enclose a photograph of two protestors in deer costumes.

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected]

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).