Campaigners will be gathering in Richmond Park to protest against the first night of the bi-annual deer cull. The cull begins on the November 5, and will last for around six weeks.

More than 1,300 deer have been killed during the cull over the past five years. Female deer will be specifically targeted during this cull, which takes place after the rut (mating season).

Over 138,000 people signed a petition calling for an end to the culling of healthy animals, which was handed into the Royal Parks earlier this year.
Campaigners question the validity of the culls, and have requested a scientific assessment of the parks' carrying capacity, as well as the use of non-lethal methods of population control where necessary.

Jade Emery, wildlife campaigner for national animal rights group Animal Aid, said: "It is horrifying to see this cruel cull continue year after year, while humane alternatives to culling deer remain unexplored by the Royal Parks.

"We call for an end to this cull, and for the Royal Park's resources to instead be used to properly explore humane alternatives, instead of so quickly resorting to such extreme measures."

A Royal Parks spokesperson said: “As a member of the British Deer Society, The Royal Parks takes deer welfare very seriously and all aspects of their welfare are monitored regularly. In addition both the society and the Deer Initiative of England and Wales fully endorse humane culling. 

“The Royal Parks is an expert manager of enclosed deer herds, which are under veterinary supervision. Deer populations are actively managed to keep herds at a sustainable size. 

“Without population control, food would become scarce and more animals would ultimately suffer. There would also be other welfare issues such as low body fat, malnutrition, high incidence of death from exposure to cold in winter and a build-up of parasites and diseases in deer.”