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BWM Comment on Bateson's First Welfare Equation -(7.3.06)

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BWM  Comment on Bateson's first Welfare Equation

This appeared within the Bateson and Bradshaw report to the National Trust Council, which immediately led to a deer hunting ban on National Trust and Forestry Commission properties.  This welfare equation centred on the results of their research, in which Bateson and Bradshaw concluded that the hunted deer suffered at levels equivalent to the escaped wounded deer, throughout the process of being moved by hounds.

This level and length of suffering in the hunted deer was based on assessments of blood samples taken at the end of the hunt.  However, the findings were overturned by subsequent peer reviewed research, with no known scientific or veterinary support for the original conclusions.

Further more, objective assessments of deer behaviour and greater knowledge of what was a new science at the time, has concluded that deer were not damaged mentally or physically by being hunted.  Any suffering that might have existed related to a tiredness factor of approximately 10 minutes at the end of the hunt, when the deer stand at bay to be provided with an instantaneous death by being shot in the head at close range.

Bateson and Bradshaw’s walking wounding rate of 5%, calculated from stalking research, was later stated to be a best case scenario, and referred to deer which were wounded and escaped. Thereby not being immediately followed up and dispatched giving rise to long periods of unnecessary suffering.

The issue of the well publicised risks, and historical record of indiscriminate slaughter of the deer in the absence of hunting, is referred to as a deer management problem and not a deer welfare problem at the end of this document. Professor Bateson acknowledged in correspondence, that the deer management issues had been dealt with by the National Trust’s Savage Report.

Edmund Marriage.

See also Deer Management Section - Conclusions from the Savage Report.

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