Thought to be the first decision of this kind for 30 years
Labour-controlled Hackney council has decided to cull foxes in the deer enclosure of Stoke Newington’s Clissold Park as they pose a “severe health risk” to the deer – as well as humans.
However experts say that the cull will have minimal effect as new foxes will move in on the territory after a few days.
Animal rights campaigners have been quick to criticise the decision.
RSPCA says no health risk from foxes
The RSPC has “strongly urged” Hackey Council to think again, saying that there was no evidence of foxes posing a health risk.
“Culling these animals is unlikely to accomplish anything as the territory will then be left vacant and it is likely that another group will move in instead,” said a spokeswoman.
“If the council are concerned about the number of foxes in the area we would suggest they use more humane, non-lethal deterrent methods to discourage these animals in the area.”
Foxes are thriving in the city. There are believed to be 10,000 in the capital and they are proving a nuisance to householders. Two years ago a baby was attacked at home by a predatory fox and lost a finger.
A spokesperson for Hackney Council stated: “A number of foxes have moved into the deer enclosure in Clissold Park.
“The council installed a large fence around the deer enclosure a number of years ago to protect the deer, but unfortunately the foxes have managed to get into the enclosure where they have made a number of earths (burrows).
“They pose a severe health risk to the deer, as well as a potential health risk to visitors to Clissold House. Qualified contractors will be humanely trapping and disposing of the foxes in strict accordance with animal welfare guidelines.
“The Council has been advised against relocating the foxes as this will cause them high levels of stress and could lead to the animals suffering a prolonged death. The trapping is being restricted to the deer enclosure and nowhere else in the park.”
“They will be baited, trapped and humanely killed in strict accordance with government welfare guidelines; no other foxes in Clissold Park will be harmed, and there is no borough-wide fox culling strategy.
“The alternative to this cull is that the deer are put at risk.
“We are looking into how we can prevent foxes returning to the site and the earths.”