THE CHAIRMAN: Let us begin the afternoon session. I think maybe some of the people who were listening this morning have gone off for a longer lunch break! I would like to begin with the question of the suitability of deer for the exercise they face, the question of what brings the hunt to an end, how severe it is and really at what stage the welfare effects become significant. I am looking at the paragraph headed, "Conclusion" which on my document is on page 25. I hope it is 25 on everybody's document. There was a reference this morning to a page which was not quite the same as it was on mine. So I am slightly holding my breath here. This sets out the conclusions and I thought I would ask Roger to lead us into that and tell us whether there was anything you heard this morning which would cause you to change your mind at all and just to make your points again. Then I would like to ask others if anyone has any difficulties with this paragraph.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I have difficulty in finding it!

THE CHAIRMAN: It comes immediately in front of "Muscle damage". On my version it is on page 25.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: This is the conclusion at the end of "Muscle damage" or before?

THE CHAIRMAN: It is before.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Because we had a printout, or at least I had a printout from my own computer, I do not think it was the same as yours.

THE CHAIRMAN: What page is it on your version?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I do not want to tell you; it is 25!

PROFESSOR MORTON: The title on page 23.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: This is the conclusion, which begins, "Metabolic indices are best explained by a model..."

THE CHAIRMAN: If I can just interrupt. My feeling was this summarised quite neatly what it was that had gone before, certainly for those of us who might struggle with some of the technical terms. I just wanted to see what the general response was to this paragraph.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I will begin by saying it is almost a disappointment when you spend a lot of time measuring a great number of parameters -- some with some difficulty -- and that at the end of the day you come down to a single parameter which could be measured extremely simply. In fact Patrick Bateson measured glycogen in an even more simple way than we did, by looking at post mortem pH, the final pH of the pieces of muscle eventually reach being used, as an indicator of the glycogen status. We did not really look at that data as closely as we should have done. It is rather difficult actually looking at post mortem post-exercise pHs in pieces of muscle, and understand the message that was coming over very clearly. When we did the glycogen measurements ourselves, this reinforced what had already been seen and the single message that comes out is how consistent this finding was; that virtually every single deer that we examined had extremely low levels of muscle glycogen. The exception were deer where there was evidence of injury prior to the actual hunt. You can only explain this in fact by a single model. The model is one of repeated disturbance with repeated bouts of intense exercise being undertaken, where the deer will run initially close to its maximum pace. It will be a very heavy carbohydrate utilising period of exercise. If an adequate distance is placed between the deer and the hounds, the pace will be allowed to reduce and there will be a period of recovery, some of the biochemicals will return to more normal levels. However there will be no recovery in the muscle glycogen store as this is a very slow process. This will continue and there will be a gradual attrition, in fact, of the muscle energy stores within the deer to a point where during the later stages of hunting, despite adequate fat reserves to provide energy of a sufficient rate to maintain the average power output required, the average pace and duration of successive sprints will decline. This intermittent sprint, slow down sprint, slow down model requires carbohydrate and once that is depleted, then when the deer attempt further escapes and these will become successively more and more difficult. The durations of successive sprinting will become reduced. The distance which the deer are able to put between themselves and the hounds will become reduced. Eventually, these periods of escape will merge almost into one continuous run, and during that period, as I said, the deer will face increasing effort almost exponentially to achieve escape. At that point the deer, we can surmise, will seek an alternative strategy which may be to either seek cover or turn to the hounds themselves. I do not see any other way to explain these findings. To me that is a most important finding in helping us to understand the deer during hunting. The exception were deer that turned to bay fairly early on. These were short hunts and most of these deer had some problem and in these cases you find high levels of lactate. You can imagine that deer in this case are athletically inferior; they are not able to compete against the hounds. The end of hunts, therefore, will be approaching much faster. Those hunts will terminate in periods of fast exercise with carbohydrate stores intact and the causative factor in this case will be fatigue, local muscle fatigue, caused by marked, intracellular acidosis. That is in contrast to the others, the longer hunts where in all cases it was the depletion of glycogen, if you like, metabolic exhaustion which is the causative factor in bringing the hunt to an end. We do have to add to that the fact that the longer the hunt goes on, there will be changes in other parameters within the body. We have heard about the possibility of overheating. In fact overheating is not a term I would use -- body temperature is raised. We did not measure rectal temperature incidentally. We measured temperature in the rectal space in post mortem animals. There will be heat movement from the muscles into the rectal compartment during this period, so the temperature we measured is somewhere between muscle temperature and rectum temperature. It is not a true measure in any way of rectum temperature. The highest temperatures are close to 40, 42, 43 degrees. We can see 43.9 in horses. So those sort of muscle temperatures -- sorry, I should mention in horses 43.9 is a muscle temperature, so 43, 44 degrees are observable in other species. Nonetheless, in some of those deer that we measured the temperature this was clearly very high. Whether or not this would have contributed further to a desire to stop, I do not know, but it certainly was not overriding since even in these deer we find glycogen depletion as the main characteristic.

THE CHAIRMAN: Could I ask Roger about these levels of glycogen at the end of the hunts. For those of us who do not know about these things, how low are the numbers that you are seeing? Are they extremely low? Do you see levels as low as that in horses after the Grand National, for example? What would be the comparable figures? Do we have anything by comparison? Are we talking here about the lowest measures that you would ever see? Or are they measures which do occasionally crop up in other extremes?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: The levels are low. I think we were down to the 20, 30 from a value of 600 to begin with. It is almost a complete depletion of glycogen levels in endurance horses. Yes, you would see them. You would see endurance forces markedly reduced glycogen levels. In some muscle fibre types you would certainly see complete depletion of glycogen and this was reported sevearal years ago by David Snow. Humans encounter glycogen depletion fairly often in such activities as professional football, in marathon running. A good number of the marathon runners on Sunday would have faced a similar state of glycogen depletion. But there is a difference, this is made clear in the report. The difference is that in humans and in horses there is the option to reduce pace. When we talk about glycogen depletion, we do not mean that all the energy stores within the deer are depleted, or indeed, in football players or in endurance horses. But the carbohydrate levels have now declined to such a point that to engage in another fast rapid escape would be extremely difficult and, well, would be extremely difficult for the deer to undertake. But, as I say, in humans we have an option. Football players, if you look at a football match, there will be much more walking towards the end of the game and this correlates with the depletion of possibly glycogen in the main leg muscles.

THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Patrick, do you want to say anything at this stage?

PROFESSOR BATESON: No, that is very clear.

THE CHAIRMAN: After that opening, are there any other comments from other members of the seminar about this contribution. Or do we have a high level of agreement?

LORD SOULSBY: Could I just ask one question about the progress of the physiological biochemical changes. From the clinical point of view, the age of the animal and how it seems during the hunt, is there any point that one can look at the animal and say, "That animal is beyond the point where depletion of resources is acceptable"?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I think that is the wrong way of putting it. I think that what is happening is that as the energy stores are becoming more and more depleted, deer will find it increasingly more difficult to make an escape and put a distance -- somebody used the word "bubble" this lunchtime -- if you like, a bubble of safety around them so they can escape the hounds to a point that they do not any longer feel threatened. Once they run out of glycogen, the act of trying to escape (and it is not even just running out of glycogen that is the problem, it will begin as glycogen stores start to become lower) the act of trying to escape will become progressively more difficult. Now, we used a figure in our report of 20 minutes, and we said right from the very beginning we were speculating on that 20 minutes. It is based by on analogy to human athletes, and the best we can say is that in the final stages of hunting, once glycogen depletion has been attained, then there will be a rapid increase in effort -- and we would use the word "distress" at this point. If this is unacceptable, then yes, from a clinical point of view, that period is the period that you would focus on. What happens earlier on I do not know. It depends so much upon the individual hunt, whether it has involved rapid periods of uphill and downhill running. Every hunt is quite individual. It is very difficult to get a feel for an average hunt. It is quite possible that at some point, even for deer which go on for a long period of time, that early on they will engage in rapid sprint exercise which does cause them considerable fatigue within the muscles. But this must be followed by periods during which they recover from this. Certainly in those that go on for a much longer period, they must be able to recover from any such early periods.

THE CHAIRMAN: On some occasions it takes 10 kilometres to get down to this level. On other occasions it takes 25 kilometres to get down to this level. Does that vary according to the animal, or is it to do with the nature of the chase and probably whether or not there have been periods in between? Do we have any information on it?

PROFESSOR BATESON: We have some -- we have looked at the effects of topography on the early parts of the hunt and how that affects later events. We can find no relationship. That is not to say there is not a relationship. We could not find one. I suspect the critical thing is not going to be topography, but how much time the deer has to recover between the bouts of sprinting. That seems to be more likely, but we do not have any hard evidence on that.

DR WISE: Lord Burns, could I ask Roger whether he considers that the exhaustion that we are talking about, would you like to define different types of exhaustion? I would tend to think -- I personally would say these deer have reached the stage of volitional exhaustion which many marathon runners describe as hitting a wall. Would you agree that that is the physiological state reached by the deer?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: It is quite difficult. They have reached a state of exhaustion where to try to engage in another escape, response, would cause them perceived increasing effort. It is a bit like a marathon runner; you are coming along and you would like to increase your running pace. If you attempt to do so at that stage you would find it quite distressful to you. So, yes, I think that they have reached that stage of exhaustion. If they were left, if the hunt then withdrew at that point, or if they found sanctuary and were left alone, at that point they would recover and although that would take quite a period of time. So in that sense they are exhausted, but they still have the potential to make a recovery.

DR WISE: Can you explain why marathon runners can very frequently run through the wall by decreasing pace? Are you saying it would take a long time for them to recover; do you mean their glycogen?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Yes. If the pace of the hunt -- if the deer can understand that if it kept up even a modest pace it could probably hold the hounds back a little, maybe the hunts would go on a little bit longer. The deer will engage in what comes naturally to it and that is it will, every time it is disturbed, try to undertake a fast escape to distance itself as quickly as possible from the hounds. That is a very expensive type of exercise. If the deer could be allowed to just simply drop its pace down, I am quite sure even deer at the end of hunting would still have the capacity to undertake some form of escape, at a fairly slow to modest pace. But they are no longer capable of reacting in the way in which they would like to react to the encroachment of the hounds and therefore at that point they must seek an alternative strategy. They have no alternative.

DR NAYLOR: Could I just add to that? Exhaustion is a term we would often reserve for a select stage, whereas this may refer to a more extended form of fatigue, where they probably can continue at a certain lower work rate, where exhaustion is often in exercise physiology circles, I suppose, reserved for more of an end stage, which is often not just (inaudible) patients we are talking about here, but thermoregulatory disturbances, electrolyte imbalances, extending to severe dehydration and a number of other physiological problems that occur with exercise, heat stroke and so on. To my understanding, we have not seen evidence of those changes in what has been measured so far in these deer, as compared with the findings that occur in other species.

THE CHAIRMAN: Do you have information on what these measures look like in horses that have been racing, race horses, or steeplechases?

DR NAYLOR: They would be more akin to changes occurring in endurance horses in prolonged exercise when there is very extensive muscle glycogen depletion and a number of those sorts will continued towards the end of the ride, despite extensive muscle glycogen depletion, and remember we have only looked at three particular muscles here, which are principal driving muscles for exercise, but there are other muscles which do not have such an important role until this fatigue process ensues, so maybe there are other muscles where you could measure glycogen where there would have still been glycogen present which allows them still to produce these short bursts of activity, admittedly getting harder each time, but in exhausted horses and humans, as I say, there are pronounced electrolyte imbalances, the salts in the blood which control muscle contraction, and so on. There are gastro-intestinal disturbances, renal disorders, neurological disfunction; often the animals become disorientated and stagger about, but I do not think there is a lot of evidence of that with hunted deer in my understanding, and correct me if I am wrong about that. So there is a big difference, important difference I think, physiologically and pathologically, between what I would call exhaustion, and what we may be seeing here is certainly a fairly extended type of fatigue.

DR ADDISON: A very quick point: Most human marathon runners turn at bay at about 18 miles, as it were, but they make a decision to carry on; they might make a dash for the pub, only one dash at the end.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Can I just comment? Generally, I do not think you can question the fact that at the end of certainly the longest hunts, with the complete depletion of the glycogen stores and the fact that deer will have tried to have made a final escape, that they must be close to a state of -- I do not like to use the word "exhaustion" myself because, like many of the other words which have been bandied around in this debate, they have both undefined and defined meanings, so they are difficult. If you like, it is a state of severe fatigue, severe multiple fatigue, which they are experiencing. This may be associated with other feelings of distress as a result, and here I mean distress associated with other changes in some individual deer, but not in all, by any means, but do not misunderstand me; this is a very severe form of exercise and it must cause intense feelings of fatigue in those deer when they try to respond, yet again, to further encroachment by the hounds. I cannot believe that at that final stage it can be anything but.

DR NAYLOR: Countering that, I was making the points about physiological --

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I do not like the use of this word "exhaustion", because physiologists tend to look upon it in a different way to other people and it has strict meanings, but if we use the more precise term "intense fatigue", then I think we understand fairly closely what we mean.

DR NAYLOR: The difference, of course, relates back to the recovery processes; intense fatigue can be recovered from more rapidly. The exhaustion syndromes often may lead to death if not treated appropriately with electrolyte fluids.

PROFESSOR MORTON: I think there is another way of looking at this, that is the deer is in a situation, if you get into the mind of this deer, where it may say this strategy of running away is not working, so mentally, because that is what we are talking about, mental exhaustion sometimes as well as physical exhaustion, and decides this is not working so it is going to take a different stance on it. It does not mean that it is not self-aware enough, because these are very, I suspect, intelligent creatures by and large, they are very well aware of their own condition and how exhausted they are becoming, but have just decided this is not a strategy that is going to work, which would account for some of the anecdotal tales of deer when they are held at bay being quite belligerent and able to fend off dogs and things like that, so the self-awareness may, on the one hand, be evidence that these animals are able to suffer mentally, which is, I think, what this debate is about, as well as physically suffering.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I think the two are closely connected, particularly towards the end. The repeated effort to escape will become progressively more difficult and that may have an impact upon their state of mind as well.

DR WISE: Lord Burns, sorry to interrupt again. I would hasten to say that I do not think anybody -- I am speaking as an individual -- from the Countryside Alliance would be naive enough to suppose that deer enjoy being hunted, nor would I suggest that they do not experience fear. Fear, however, should not -- well, again, I am quoting Professor Webster -- but should not be defined as suffering until that fear becomes inescapable. It is our contention that there is a stage when the fear does become inescapable, but this stage occurs at the end of the hunt and it arises exponentially. It is not particularly a gradual experience, because although Roger might describe a gradual procedure, in fact, it is almost certain that because the deer can get so far in front of the hounds for a lot of the hunt, whether or not the glycogen is very low at the time, will not really be affecting it mentally until the hounds actually close up. So the fact that it may be lying out with very little glycogen is probably not going to affect its mental state until the hounds close and, thereafter, we would suggest a very short period of mental suffering. The other point I think one should make is that fear in humans is very, very different probably from fear in animals. We are not saying it does not happen, but humans anticipate death, and most welfarists would suggest that animals do not have that ability. So the sort of fear, the fear that is not a cognitive fear in quite the same sense, although there will be some cognition, but it would not involve understanding or anticipation of death.

THE CHAIRMAN: If there are no more comments on this, it seems to me, with some changes in emphasis in one or two places, we have really quite a large measure of agreement about this paragraph. From our point of view that is very helpful. If I could move on then. In my version the next set of conclusions are on page 29 which are the conclusions about muscle damage. Again, Roger, would you like to?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I think one of the comments that we have to be clear of is that muscle damage can come in various forms. Muscle damage simply means that the cells have become changed in some way; they may be leaking individual proteins through the outer membrane, or there may be much more serious fundamental changes in the disruption of the, if you like, contractile machinery within each muscle cell. We can use the term "low grade" to indicate where there is just an increase in the permeability of the membranes to constituents within the muscle fibre to explain low level damage that you get, this is not the damage which is going to cause a major problem to performance and it probably is not going to cause any major problems in the recovery during the next two or three days in those deer which escape. It is going to lead to increases in the appearance, of proteins, such as creatine kinase in the bloodstream. That low grade damage will occur in us; it will occur in all athletes. It occurs when we are doing our regular activity if we are engaged in more intensive bursts of activity. What is more serious is where you get focal damage, within groups of muscle cells, which is really causing a break up and disruption of the ultrastructure within the muscle fibres. Then it becomes more of a problem, certainly for those deer that escape. The results of the original study indicated losses of creatine kinase, or appearance of creatine kinase, in blood which could have been interpreted in two different ways. One is of low grade and the other is a more severe form of damage. We, in our study, looked at three different muscle groups. We took, I think, three samples from each muscle group, is that correct? I would not like to quote to you the numbers of thousands of fibres which were looked at and screened by Liverpool, and the results of that hard effort was that in fact with few exceptions there was very little sign of any overt muscle damage which at the end of hunting would give concern to those deer that escape and survive. I would refer you to Tim Helliwell, since he did all the looking down the microscope at this stage. He has already commented upon it. The only other thing that I will say is that in one deer we saw clear evidence of extensive muscle damage. That was a young hind and that deer was notable in that it had done exercise both up and downhill and it is that work, particularly when going up and downhill, which can often cause the greatest amount of damage. Would it be appropriate for Tim to make a comment at this stage?

DR HELLIWELL: Thank you. I think, as I said before, the questions that were in my mind were whether the damage was present and also whether it was going to be catastrophic to a degree that would impair the function of the animals. The changes that we have seen are exactly those that one would expect as a result of exercise, both at the light microscopic level and using the electron microscope, so the nature of the damage is sort of broadly as would be predicted. The extent of the damage, I think, in most animals was mild. There were exceptions where it was more extensive. In terms of what this actually means, trying to relate what I saw down the microscope with measurements such as the creatine kinase level did not produce a nice straight line relationship in terms of intensity of damage. That I did not find surprising. From my background, in looking at human muscles, the relationship between enzyme levels, like creatine kinase, with what you see down the microscope is actually very poor and it certainly seems that muscle fibres can become leaky and release this enzyme without actually undergoing necrosis, actual death of the muscle fibres, so there are subtle things going on and the different measures of damage do not necessarily correlate precisely. As I said before, anyone who has undertaken extensive exercise, run the marathon for example, will be aware that the symptoms of muscle damage, the pain and soreness of the muscles, are not at their greatest immediately after the exercise but they develop over a period of a few days thereafter. Such experimental studies as have been done do show that the amount of damage you can see down the microscope increases over that period of time. We do not have the answer to the question as to exactly how this would apply in this particular situation. I think the other comment I would make is that if one is looking at the effects of exercise on an animal that is not particularly trained for that exercise, in humans there was one report on the effects of exercise in US marines when they first went to base camp and were suddenly exposed to whatever endurance exercise they put them through there. They did not look at any muscle samples histologically, but they did measure CK levels and found levels of 50-80,000 which are in excess of what we are looking at here, as their most extreme levels of damage in, I presume, relatively unfit individuals. These individuals all recovered without any lasting damage as far as I am aware.

DR VICTORIA EDWARDS: I was just going to ask if you could help. In terms of the time factor, the muscles that you examined were ones that were taken immediately after the hunt and you have said that the symptoms take time to manifest themselves. Presumably also the damage therefore takes time? I appreciate that you do not have any evidence for the deer, but to what extent with other mammals do we know at what time after the event does the damage manifest itself, and what degree, what factor of increase would you expect?

DR HELLIWELL: There is really very little good evidence on this. Most laboratory studies have looked at the short-term effects of damage in small animals in the laboratory over perhaps a period of hours and have not really followed them up over a period of a week or two. Conversely, studies using human volunteers have exercised them and then out of a group, tissues would be studied from one or two individuals at intervals of several days. So we do not actually have the data to compare what was happening at day nought to what was happening ten days afterwards in terms of the pathology of the muscle. Putting the studies together, I think that different species do seem to behave similarly and that is why I say I would expect there to be an increase in the amount of damage, although -- it is very difficult to quantify the extent of this.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Can I just add to that. Tim, perhaps you can comment on the subjective response known as delayed onset muscle soreness which can appear 24 to 48 hours after. Subjective but not backed up necessarily by histological evidence.

DR HELLIWELL: My interpretation of the literature is that this muscle soreness reflects the response of the body to the tissue damage, and when you start getting inflammatory changes in the damaged muscle with more fluid in the muscle, (it becomes more oedematous) that is when the symptoms are at their greatest.

DR WISE: Could I just -- I believe we have talked about carted stags before, but the CK levels in the carted stags dropped very much more quickly than one would have anticipated had the damage been significant. I believe very often CK levels in true damage go on rising for some days, even after muscle damage. That was not the case in the carted stags, but I accept what Professor Bateson says about the carted stags in a slightly different form of hunting, but it should be noted, I think, that the CK levels at the end of hunting in the carted stags were as high as, if not in certain cases higher than anything found in these studies.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I think actually, Douglas, what you are talking about there is the observable effects of this fairly low grade muscle damage, which is causing increased permeability of the membranes to these enzymes, rather than major damage causing necrosis of the muscle fibres. Tim, would that be correct?


DR ADDISON: Is this the point to comment on the difference between muscle strains and tears and the general fatigue we are talking about? A human muscle pull, shall I say, just brings them to a halt and then pop up and down and hop along. So if such things were to happen in a quadroped, would it be immediately observable; would their gait change? I would like to put the question to our quadropedal colleagues.

DR NAYLOR: You can sometimes identify muscle strains in horses. It is an injury they do sustain, but it is not very common.

DR ADDISON: I want to make the point that the feeling of the muscle pull is nothing like the increasing fatigue of running. It brings you to a halt: Bang, and everybody knows it. I mean, you must have seen it on athletics track.

DR NAYLOR: Can I just add a comment to that? In the second half of the report there are a number of references to muscle tears, extreme exercise being involved with tearing of muscles and release of muscle enzyme in the blood plasma. I must say that that particular term I find quite misleading, because I think there is a big distinction. What has been identified -- maybe you would like to comment on this -- what you have been identifying is a few necrotic muscle fibres is a world apart from a muscle tear as such.

DR HELLIWELL: That is how I understand the terminology. A muscle tear is something pretty dramatic. If an athlete experiences that, then the muscle ceases to function immediately and there is associated haemorrhage. That is way in excess of what we have been seeing here.

DR NAYLOR: There are a number of references to that.

PROFESSOR BATESON: Can I just ask a question, because it is important: When you did your sampling muscle did you look for tears?

DR HELLIWELL: I did not sample the muscle. I was provided with the samples.

PROFESSOR BATESON: Perhaps whoever took the samples might answer.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I would have to ask you what you mean, what you are meaning by tears in fact. Are you talking about tears, talking about what in essence -- Ian, would you like to explain what you are talking about?

MR ADDISON: It feels totally different; it brings you to a halt, as opposed to just getting more and more tired.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: My understanding of a tear is something entirely different to what we have been discussing up to now. In a way I can turn the question back on Patrick to see if there were tears, then my belief is that this would cause fairly immediate and very obvious changes in the rhythmicity in the running of deer. Now, Patrick, you have been looking at this, and there are, I know, other people around this table who probably have some observations which they could add to this because they have seen hunting Does the evenness of the gait change frequently, dramatically, towards the end of hunting, which would be consistent with the type of tear, muscle tear -- this is at the macro level rather than the micro level -- that occurs?

PROFESSOR BATESON: There was certainly one case in our study where a deer was chased for a long time and it was not recognised as being odd and finally when it was killed it turned out to have one of the ends of its leg missing and it was not spotted up to that point, so clearly -- this was an animal that probably had this injury for some time. I mean, it is a good question whether you would notice an obvious alteration to the gait.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: At the same time we did see a slide earlier which showed, I believe, a deer escaping, running away, and obviously you cannot tell very much from a single still frame, but my guess is from everything that I have seen --and I have only ever seen two hunts -- is that the deer are moving just as fluidly towards the end as they are at the beginning. So would you like to --

PROFESSOR BATESON: The whole pattern of the gait is getting different by the end.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Of course it is, but is there any dysfunction in that gait: Are they showing indications of lameness at all? Jeremy, you are a trained vet and you have actually -- sorry.

THE CHAIRMAN: Ian is trying to get in.

DR ADDISON: A dog with a sore leg can go on three legs; would a deer?


PROFESSOR HARRIS: Yes, but it is not as even with three legs as it was with four.

DR NAYLOR: If I can add clinically, genuine muscle tears are very, very rare in athletic horses of all type; that is what I deal with. If you do have something which you can later recognise as a genuine muscle injury, with a localised muscle damage, call it what you like, usually that horse will be quite lame during exercise successively and afterwards, but we are talking very spurious things here, we are going round in circles.

MR SWANN: Just to make one comment, and I know David would want to make another: It would depend whether the injury had mechanical consequences. If the injury led to mechanical instability, the leg would not carry on working. The capacity of the leg to carry on working would depend on whether the injury had a physical consequence to the actual working of the leg.

PROFESSOR MORTON: In my misspent youth I went to greyhound tracks. Certainly you get dogs, as Ian said, when they get a torn muscle as a recognised condition go on three legs and they just stop racing, and I assume it is a torn muscle because it swells up and is very painful and it is usually the hamstring muscles.

THE CHAIRMAN: I think we have probably pressed this as far as we can, I think we may just have to look at it a little more carefully in the transcript.

PROFESSOR BATESON: Can I just say one thing: In this conclusion it says quite correctly there is yet no clear evidence to suggest the damage would bring about pathological changes. I think we also have to say there is no clear evidence it does not. At the moment we do not know.

THE CHAIRMAN: I think we have taken that point that there is the whole question of what happens afterwards. And that that would require further study. The next point that I had was the conclusions to the next section, which is on haemolysis and kidney damage. In my version, is at the bottom of page 32 and, again, just to check whether we are in agreement on this. Anything you want to say? I think you spoke on this yesterday -- I am sorry, not yesterday; it does not seem that long ago.

PROFESSOR MORTON: You had a snooze at lunchtime!

THE CHAIRMAN: I meant this morning.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I would just say that in this respect we do still have some slight difference of opinion between us as to whether the high haemoglobins seen were extra or intravascular, that is to say they resulted during the hunting or occurred after. But we are in agreement, however, that there is a degree of haemolysis occurring during hunting, but perhaps not as much as to account for the very high haemoglobin levels.

PROFESSOR BATESON: I think that is right. I think some of the values that we reported were probably due to a lot of that. That having been said, I am impressed by the high bilirubin levels which would not be produced after death; it would have to be produced before death, and the conversion from haemoglobin to bilirubin is very slow, so we have reason to think there must be quite substantial involvement taking place while the animal is alive and just how much is something we want to debate a bit further.

THE CHAIRMAN: Any observations on this?

DR NAYLOR: The only comment I have is on the paragraph before that when he is talking about the change in urine consistent with nephritis, which go against that, and I would say there is a change in urine consistent with the changes in urine with exercise. Nephritis is inflammatory kidney disease. I would have a problem with that statement.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Jeremy, I think you are reading that incorrectly. That is referring to the results of Cross and Shot. It is saying not that the changes in urine that we observed are consistent with nephritis; the changes in Cross and Shot they claim, or they interpret as being consistent with nephritis.

DR NAYLOR: It is only a small point.

DR WISE: Could I just make a few observations on the subject of haemolysis. Again, going back to the carted deer, the evidence is that they are not haemolysed, although in this study it was suggested that the haemolysis occurred earlier in the hunt. Therefore, one would have anticipated it in carted deer, even though they are shorter. Secondly, there are several things -- Roger touched on one, and this is the sort of very low haptoglobin level of ruminants would suggest that any haemolysis that was present may well be more likely to sort of be turned into bilirubin than would otherwise be the case. Secondly, that the elevated levels of free fatty acids quite possibly compete with anionic receptors so that they are not taken out of the circulation as fast during exercise as they would be otherwise. Thirdly, there would be haemodynamic changes, such that the uptake of bilirubin during exercise from the blood is quite likely to be lower. Fourthly, that if the deer are not used to severe exercise, as indeed would appear to be the case, they should not be totally analgous to human athletes who have already destroyed most of their erythrocytes to the extent that the erythrocyte lifespan of an athlete is about half the length that it is in non-athletically minded humans, like myself. If you are going to start running an animal which is slightly -- let us say, less fit -- it has a lot more rotten old erythrocytes to get rid of. The other thing about deer and horses, unlike humans, is they are splenic contractors and they tend to store a big reserve of rather shoddy erythrocytes in their spleens, which get squirked out at the beginning of exercise, and those erythrocytes are much more likely to damage, so I think we have to be very careful about assessing this because of species differences as to whether it has any significance whatsoever in welfare terms. It is agreed that in the absence of dehydration, which has not been found in either of these studies, there is no problem as far as the kidneys are concerned in shipping haemoglobin through the kidneys. I would like to ask Roger Harris why on one of his slides he had up suggested that myoglobin, which is about a quarter of the molecular weight of haemoglobin, why he thinks that that is more nephrotoxic than haemoglobin.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Only because I saw the main route of haemoglobin disposal as not actually involving the kidney and that the disposal of myoglobin, on the other hand, if extensive myoglobin was released, would involve the kidney. It is just I did not see the haemoglobin involving the kidney in the same way.

DR WISE: You would accept myoglobin is less likely to block?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Yes. I think if both were channelled in the direction of the kidney, yes. That is, however, not how I meant that slide to appear. My apologies.

PROFESSOR BATESON: Just one thing about the carted deer. You may have seen data which I have not seen, what I saw was whole haemoglobin; it was not actual haemolysis, but you may have seen data which has not been made available to us.

DR WISE: No, the only data I saw was that there was no physical haemolysis from the samples in most cases.

PROFESSOR BATESON: You mean no plasma samples were red.

DR WISE: Yes, there was no miscolouring of the blood plasma.

THE CHAIRMAN: I am afraid I am now out of my depth on this issue. Patrick said that he was impressed by the bilirubin and the extent to which this was an indication that it may not be all artefact. I am not quite sure whether Douglas Wise's response to that captures in any way the point you made. But I cannot go much further before sinking in this conversation. But if there is any explanation that we can understand then --

PROFESSOR BATESON: I think the only thing to be said which is worth saying is that one molecule of bilirubin will come from one molecule of haemoglobin, so it indicates there is some haemolysis taking place. Whether it is because it has been squirted out of the spleen or whether it is because these animals are not particularly fit is a good question and we do not know the answer to that, but there is some haemolysis taking place in this animals I think there is no doubt.

DR NAYLOR: The important point in this whole measuring is whether it is a clinical problem for the animal and one of the major routes if there were to be a clinical problem is through damage to the kidney; kidney samples were measured and there was no evidence of kidney damage at this stage and no one can comment on what is going to happen 24 hours down the line, but at that stage.

THE CHAIRMAN: Kidneys are the same as muscles, the damage can occur later?

DR NAYLOR: There was no damage.

THE CHAIRMAN: But it can look different after the event?

DR NAYLOR: Yes, and there is regenerative capacity in the kidney.

DR VICTORIA EDWARDS: I was going to ask the same question I asked before which has been asked, that is we might expect that further down the line there may be damage. I think you have said you would like to do surveys between one and three days after the event. Is there evidence in other mammals where that has been possible, of the factor of increase of damage? And which is the best period at which to repeat that sample?

DR NAYLOR: I am not a kidney pathologist, but in the experience of having problems with endurance rides often you will see acute changes happening shortly after the end of endurance rides where they have gone into heat stress problems and consequent kidney damage. Sometimes, yes, the damage will get worse over the next 24 to 48 hours.

PROFESSOR BATESON: I have asked kidney pathologists about this and their feeling is that the damage will express itself more and more in the few days after the cause of the damage, but then when I asked for references they would not give me them, so I do not know what they are basing it on.

THE CHAIRMAN: Could I ask a question, just for my information: This phrase about endurance horses, what is this?

DR NAYLOR: They are horses that compete over distances anything from 25 miles up to 100 miles. Sometimes they do 100 miles in one go.

THE CHAIRMAN: It happens in this country?

DR NAYLOR: Yes, on a regular basis every weekend. It is a very, very popular sport. 100 mile rides are less common, but certainly very, very popular are 25 mile, 50 and 75.

DR ADDISON: A few of us can have bilirubin on exercise. I am told it can come from something rather fearsome called caecal slap, which means never try to run on two legs, but it could possibly--

THE CHAIRMAN: I came to that conclusion a long time ago!

DR ADDISON: Cause very slight liver contusion in humans.

PROFESSOR BATESON: Can I ask Ian Addison for the reference?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I can provide some references on that. In fact this results from both mechanical damage and chemical damage -- I used the word "mechanical" and "chemical damage" earlier. Mechanical damage can take various forms in humans, including foot strike, but the other part is chemical damage where any period of prolonged exercise in any species is going to result in production of free radicals. There are several reports of damage to the membranes of the red blood cells by free radicals, and this will increase their fragility to mechanical disturbance. I can only imagine that something like this is happening. There was in both studies a trend towards higher bilirubin levels with time, that is correct. This to me suggests that what we are looking at is an accumulative effect of exercise producing chemical damage rather than mechanical damage, although that can also be linked in with time and duration. But there is a progressive low grade disruption, break up of a small amount of red blood cells in exactly the same way that you would expect to find in any other animal which is performing prolonged exercise of this type.

THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. I think that probably takes us to the end of that section. I now move on with the report. There is a section about the hunt which we discussed this morning which I do not propose to dwell on. We then come to the bottom of page 39 in my copy, where there is the general discussion, Patrick, about welfare measurement. This ends at the top of page 43, where you set out the factors that you have taken into account. I simply wanted to ask whether there was any other points you wanted to make about this section and to give other people the opportunity to comment on the approach that you use.

PROFESSOR BATESON: I thank you. I think the only point I want to re-emphasise is that the more prongs you can use the better. It is not as if there is a kind of magic bullet which will give you the answer to the question and it is partly because of the difficult nature of the problem, because we cannot get inside the head of the animal. What we can do is to use all the approaches to welfare. If they start to converge then we are more confident than if they do not start to converge. That is all I think I can say.

THE CHAIRMAN: Does anyone wish to comment on that? Well, let us --

DR NAYLOR: The only specific comment on this section is that what you are referring to?

THE CHAIRMAN: Yes. If I may say by way of a general comment, on the remainder there are no big conclusions sections as there were in the first part. I thought the best thing was to take it section by section and to see if there were any comments.

DR NAYLOR: There is a number of comments that I find hard to sort of understand without back up. Page 35 at the bottom: "The deer living in more open country do not appear to be more athletic than they would living in the woods." I just do not understand the point that is made in that comment.

PROFESSOR BATESON: This is going back to the previous section. What we did there was simply to look at how far deer were hunted in these different habitats, and there was no significant difference between the distances hunted in these three habitats, as far as starting habitat is concerned. As far as finishing habitat is concerned, there was a difference, but in a sense that might be obvious. In the more open habitats they tend to run for longer. The distance run did not seem to be affected at all by where they started.

DR NAYLOR: Another comment comes up page 37: "They may also do so because they suffer from muscle pain or they overheat." Again, that, as far as I can see, is mainly speculation

PROFESSOR BATESON: I think that is covered by the word "may"

DR NAYLOR: If that is the case, that is fine.

THE CHAIRMAN: What about the next section, pages 41 through to the top of 43? Does anyone want to offer an opinion on those? Otherwise I propose to take the next section, and then go section by section. Okay. Let us move on.

DR NAYLOR: Sorry, can I? Again on page 42 this question of ischemia, it occurred and causes pain in humans and this question of clogging blood vessels. That is really going out on a limb from any evidence that is available.

PROFESSOR BATESON: There is evidence, contrary to what Dr Wise said, that you can get sickling in live animals.

DR NAYLOR: Is there any evidence that will cause ischemia?

PROFESSOR BATESON: No, there is not, but there is evidence in humans, that blocked blood vessels in humans cause pain the extension to deer is an inference, but it is something that we have to take into account.

THE CHAIRMAN: I think we are just getting slightly confused here about the page numbering. You were referring to --

DR NAYLOR: Page 42.

THE CHAIRMAN: What does the paragraph begin with? That is the next section. Your numbering, I am afraid, is not the same as ours. Mine comes to the bottom of page 43.

DR NAYLOR: It is at the bottom of the paragraph: "Is the deer's state comparable with a human in pain or distress." It just strikes me as going out tremendously on a limb to make comments about ischemia during exercising deer because their cell may sickle.

DR WISE: Lord Burns, could I ask if Professor Bateson contends that there is evidence of sickling in deer in response to exercise in vivo? It would be very helpful if he could provide reference to that fact, because it certainly is not in the two references that he has given and it may be in the one in 1840 --


DR WISE: 1840. Do you not think when they took blood in those days it could easily have sickled after collection?

PROFESSOR BATESON: The point he made there is a difference between the animals which have been chased and the animals that have not been chased.

DR WISE: The point that Taylor makes -- I am sorry, not Taylor, yes, sorry, Taylor, he specifically says that deer, blood cells, do not sickle and Seiffge gives a reference to the cells -- sorry, in vivo -- and Seiffge gives a reference to in vivo sickling in Sika deer where those deer were injected with very, very high levels of alkali and forced to breathe pure oxygen and they died, but he did manage -- allegedly -- to get in vivo sickling. That is the only circumstance in modern times where it has been reported, except by Whitten in 1967, and Whitton is now generally regarded as incorrect, and his conclusion was that there was sickling in vivo, but it was a totally benign phenomenon, because the sickle cells were so rubbery they went through the vessels without clogging, but his work has mainly been discredited. PROFESSOR BATESON: You are not a haematologist, and nor am I.

DR WISE: No, but I have read the references you have given and you have not given the true facts here.


THE CHAIRMAN: I think that this has taken a slight turn for the worst. I am more than happy for people to make comments and to give others the opportunity to reply to them. If we cannot sort it out, I think we then have to sort it out on another occasion. But I do not want a Newsnight style of engagement. Do you want to say anything, Patrick?

PROFESSOR BATESON: Obviously we will clarify these points in the final report and make sure that what we say is properly referenced. I am perfectly prepared to believe that Douglas Wise is right about some of the things here, but there is more to be said.

THE CHAIRMAN: Are there any other points on the remainder of this section which on my numbering goes through to 46?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I wonder if I could add one comment? If this point is important, if you felt it is important, how long would it take for that examination to be made on one or two samples? This would be almost as quick as it would be to rewrite that section. Is that not correct?


PROFESSOR HARRIS: It would be relatively easy, at no cost. I believe it would be relatively easy to do, would it not, for an examination to be conducted? Douglas? DR WISE: Sorry, may I answer? THE


PROFESSOR HARRIS: How difficult would it be to obtain confirmation of whether or not cells have sickled at the end of hunting or not?

DR WISE: Professor Bateson has very correctly said I am not a haematologist. It is a question that can be addressed elsewhere.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Perhaps David Morton.

PROFESSOR MORTON: I am not a haematologist either, but the point is it could be done because presumably blood samples can be taken and they could be given to a haematologist to do. This is an important point, that is an important question, it is a crucial point.

THE CHAIRMAN: I have to say I am not in a position to judge. But let us take that away and ask whether or not we can improve our own understanding of this.

DR NAYLOR: Can I make a separate point, nothing to do with that? There is this section.


DR NAYLOR: It is in mine -- I do not have the page number on this one, but is the paragraph before, "What may be inferred from the behaviour of deer?"


DR NAYLOR: Here the comment is made very strongly: "Therefore comparisons between hunted deer and deer injured in other ways, the release of muscle enzymes into the bloodstream are relevant." I would counter that entirely, because this whole question of muscle enzymes being indicative of injury cannot be taken that far. I have taken many blood samples of horses that have run successfully in all sorts of competition that have been very high and there is no clinical evidence of muscle damage, so I think to make that so hard and fast is, in my humble opinion, wrong. This business of tearing goes there within this graph. You can use another term, but tearing is inappropriate.

THE CHAIRMAN: Then the next section, "What may be inferred from the behaviour of deer?"

DR VICTORIA EDWARDS: Forgive me if this is in your report, but this relates to the reading of it as well, but I am interested in the cumulative effect of stress and to what extent that is an issue in the long-term. If animals are experiencing these changes in hormone levels, is there a cumulative effect because of this periodic change?

PROFESSOR BATESON: I am not sure there is any evidence specifically as a result of the hormonal change, but I think, as David Morton has already said, there is reason to think a cycle of stressful events is in itself progressive. David, perhaps you could say more about this than I can, but I think in the most extreme case it leads to the animal becoming completely torpid. In human terms it looks depressed and indeed learned helplessness was used as a model of depression for a long time.

PROFESSOR MORTON: I think there are two issues here about long-term -- what you mean by "long-term". If you repeatedly stress an animal over a period of days or weeks or months, then that can lead to a serious effect on its physiology so that its growth rate will be affected so that its reproductive cycling will stop and things like that, and that has been very well worked out by persons like Gary Moberg. The point about helplessness is that -- the point I wanted to make anyway -- is that the animal cannot escape it and it was having an effect on it, albeit after a few days or a few exposures on it mentally, so that that inescapability was affecting its mental state. The question in my mind is whether that is going to occur after one chase, and I was linking that with something in the report about the hunting strategy. It said the harbourer could recognise stags but not hinds. How many times has the same hind chased? If you cannot recognise a hind, which is really what was inferred in some of the documents, is it likely that a hind may be chased on more than one occasion? If so, that may be, again, suffering mentally, because it now knows what it is going to be exposed to and it may actually have a shorter chase time in that situation, I do not know. But the emphasis was really about saying putting an animal into a position where you get inescapability and in some cases unpredictability as well which can affect its mental state.

THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. I think the next section covers things in a way we have looked at already today and made a certain amount of comment on. But does anyone have anything to raise of an important nature before we get to the section headed, "Conclusions of welfare of deer", which is on page 58? Is there anything up to that point, otherwise I propose to take the conclusions.

DR WISE: Might I just raise the subject of cortisol. I am rather concerned that the cortisol -- we have measures of cortisol in some tables here, giving a whole range of levels. I think we are going back to page 21, but it is in a sense relevant to this section, because it relates to a cumulative effect of stress and we must remember that stress is not a source of suffering. It is only when it becomes so cumulative that it becomes difficult to cope with and, therefore, there could be some relevance in the actual absolute level measured at the end of a hunt, although, as we have heard, that is debatable because of repeated challenges and the long half life of cortisol, but I think one should be very careful before comparing the wild and farmed species. If one goes through this table, there is quite a lot of indication that wild caught animals tend, even without exercise, to show very high levels. Now that might mean that it is much more frightening for them to bleed them, but it certainly shows that you have to be very careful how you define what a high cortisol level means. Zomborszky et al, 1993, for example, where there was a direct comparison made, it is not in this table where experimentors went out and they bled something like 40 farm deer and 30 recently caught wild deer, or something the other way round, and the results were that the cortisol levels of the farm deer were 40, and over 200 for the wild ones. In Goddard's paper that was referred to, some of the levels -- in fact in groups of deer -- went up to about 538, although the highest level here is quoted at 376, and I am perfectly willing to accept that could well be chronic stress, but there is work by Ingrams and a lot of other people where they have compared total farm stresses with the sort of stresses that you would get as a result of maximal chemical challenge by ACTH, and in fact Ingrams et al concluded that many farming procedures produced maximum levels of cortisol response, so I think one ought to be very, very careful when we have complications of wild verses tame and what you mean by the welfare significance of a maximum response. Also the comments that have been repeatedly made that high levels of cortisol typically are not associated with exercise. Is that comment valid for ruminants, because the only reference I have been able to come up with in ruminants is in training sheep or trained lambs where, in fact, even aerobic exercise on a treadmill, fairly mild exercise produced very nearly a maximum response in a very short time. So I think, okay, it may be true for humans and horses, but I am not sure it is true for ruminants that exercise does not produce a maximum cortisol response. All I am saying I do not think you can deduce anything from cortisol one way or the other.

PROFESSOR BATESON: I think you can deduce something. It is an indicator. As I was emphasising in the beginning, you would not use it as the only indicator.

PROFESSOR MORTON: Could I respond? I am sorry, I think Professor Bateson is absolutely right. It is one of a number of indicators that one would use to measure animal well-being, but in itself it can be misleading unless you look at the degree to which cortisol has been released, and also have some sort of comparator, and I think it is -- it would be slightly unfortunate if we thought the deer was such a peculiar species that it did not fall in line with many of the other mammals that we have domesticated in farming, because there are distinct differences in degrees of challenge and it does represent something that with commonsense you would say is obviously stressful. For example, I quoted the work on sheep, where herding them from a distance and herding them close up with a dog produce marked differences in cortisol response so from that one would say it does have a value.

THE CHAIRMAN: What I would like to do now is to have a quick word about the conclusions about the welfare of hunted deer which begins on page 58. And then if we can finish that, I propose that we have a short break and then we come back and use the last three-quarters of an hour or so with the welfare of stalked deer. Anything you want to say, Patrick, about this section of conclusions? Obviously the sentence which stands out to interested amateurs like myself is on the top of page 59 which is: "All these pointers have been challenged, but stacked together may produce a compelling case for the view that hunting with hounds is a challenge to the welfare of deer that would not be tolerated in other walks of life."

PROFESSOR BATESON: I think that is correct, actually. There is legislation from the use of animals in many areas and research, animals in transport and these areas, I think these kind of indicators, would lead to that practice being stopped. There are two experts on animal welfare actually round the table, and I do not know what you think, but that is my reading of it all.

DR KIRKWOOD: It is worth perhaps mentionning here that Professor Harris was unable to get a Home Office licence to do the radio tracking study to follow up deer that escaped from the hunt. Although I do not know what the reasons for that might have been, they may have included concerns that it was not a justifiable thing to put the deer through the distress of such a study. Do we know what the Home Office's thinking was on that?

PROFESSOR HARRIS: No, we do not. We went through the process. We applied for the Home Office licence and we were turned down and we went through the appeals. The appeal was found in our favour, but that was again turned down, so we never went any further and we never got a full explanation.

PROFESSOR MORTON: I think there is some other evidence as well in as much as rodeos were banned in this country, which is a similar sort of use of animals in terms of human pleasure, and in this country we tend to take a utilitarian view of animals and say that we are trying to balance all the time the pleasures or the benefits to humans against the harm and cost done to the animals and, as Professor Bateson says and Professor Harris has just reiterated, the Home Office have to make this judgment under the Animal Scientific Procedures Act. They have to weigh the predicted harm to the animals as against the potential benefit that is going to come from that research. On that basis presumably the Home Secretary decided that it was not acceptable for that study to go ahead. Pity he did not give his reasons. It might have helped this Committee. So there have been other instances where animal uses have been prevented. Bull fighting is another one that we do not carry out in this country; circuses are now being debated, so I think this is yet another example of how society treats animals and whether it is acceptable or not.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Can I just clarify? The application was only to immobilise deer for the fitting of a radio collar. Thereafter the deer were then to be hunted in the normal way. Maybe the Home Office viewed that once the radio collar had been fitted then it was a true experiment, in which case they would regard the entire thing rather than just a simple procedure.

DR NAYLOR: Going back to those two sentences, again, I would disagree with that conclusion in terms of its physiology and other things. The deer is not well adapted to a long chase, and my own view on all of the consideration of these findings would counter that and I would have to -- my opinion is there is no compelling case at all based on the physiological changes, because if that were the case, then many horse sports would be under question equally, and that may be the desire of other people considering those sorts of physiological changes, but the physiological changes in the deer per se, in themselves, are very similar to those that occur in many horses under competitive athletic activity and also dogs, and I could certainly not agree with those conclusions.

MR SWANN: I would like to make it clear to the Committee clear that it is a matter of opinion and open to debate and as a matter of opinion, it is one I would not agree with because I am very concerned about drawing comparisons between horses which are training for very specialist procedures and have had many, many years of specific breeding for specific purposes -- trying to draw comparisons with what is an artificial situation. We have been told that we should not draw conclusions by Douglas Wise, who said we should not look at interspecies comparisons for certain parameters. I think this is one where there are great dangers in drawing comparisons between an artificially bred and domestically trained animal and an animal which is living completely in the wild and which will not expend energy. A deer will not expend energy for no purpose. The situation is arguable. If I can say in the report in terms of what Professor Bateson has said, we must not lose sight of the fact that decisions in animal welfare historically have been made on the basis of behavioural observations and the broader picture is to equate the scientific findings to the behavioural findings. This, I believe, is the strength of Professor Bateson's work and it is one I feel is the major strength, because the two different approaches support each other and details, such as sickle cells and things, are not irrelevant, but I think they do have to be put in their place and we should not lose sight that we have two very major approaches to animal welfare which support each other quite considerably. MR SWIFT: There is a construction in this sentence which makes me uneasy drawing -- a comparison between animals in the wild and animals which might be subjected to certain treatments in the laboratory and that brings me to what is meant in this sentence, "By the deer". "All these pointers have been challenged, and stacked together they produce a compelling case for the view that hunting with hounds is a challenge to the welfare of the deer." Of course it is, the deer that is being hunted; but in this situation we are dealing with a wild population which has been regarded in the round in its total number. Is it equally true to say that all these pointers have been challenged, but stacked together they produce a compelling case to the view hunting with hounds is a challenge to the welfare of the deer as a whole, as a group and as a population that would not be tolerated in other walks of life.

PROFESSOR BATESON: We need to distinguish between what happens to individual animals and what happens to a population and I fully take your point about that. There is a management issue which I think is not really part of our brief, but there is an issue to do with whether or not deer population will remain as it is, if a total ban were in force. That was not our concern.

THE CHAIRMAN: I think that is tomorrow.


THE CHAIRMAN: Any other comments on this?

DR ADDISON: The point about behavioural observations. I mean, simply looking tired happens when things are not particularly unpleasant. I take the point you want observations of how tired the deer look. If I was to stop in the middle of Oxford Street and put my hands on my knees and breathe hard, they might take me to hospital, but it is a normal thing I would do after a cross-country race. So I wonder how far -- I mean, animals are going to be tired, and look it. So will humans in a willingly repeatable activity. DR WISE: On this subject, could I suggest we have heard about utilitarian arguments, not just about hunting and that is certainly, I think, the view of many animal welfarists, but arguments relating to justice which were raised by Professor Webster, I trust we will eventually be discussing those insofar as if the welfare of the herd as a whole if you want is so -- if the individual may suffer it may be for the good of the deer during its lifetime and for the herd and also, in my view, the casualty argument is totally overwhelming, because I believe road accidents, wire entanglements and everything else probably cause more suffering to deer in the South-west than either hunting or stalking, and the presence of the hounds could not easily be replaced. We are not just looking for deer wounded by stalkers. Most of the deer are not wounded by stalkers. In fact, the other thing I would like to mention, as Professor Bateson suggested that he found evidence of nine deer I think in the casualty records. My own data suggests 26 per annum which would treble his wounding rate, but this is not necessarily wounding by stalkers; it is shotguns and rifles, and it probably represents the true picture of what goes on by people who shoot deer on Exmoor rather than by expert stalkers.

THE CHAIRMAN: I am suggesting that we deal with the question of the welfare of stalked deer after we have a break.

PROFESSOR MORTON: Could I just refer to the argument that Dr Wise has just made, because it seems to me one of saying I can go home and beat my wife tonight because children are dying of starvation in Ethiopia because you can always find something worse going on which will discount it for yourself. I am very suspicious of those arguments. However, there is a Government report by Professor Michael Banner on the use of animals in biotechnology which I think would summarise this debate quite nicely. He laid down three principles: Firstly, is an animal use acceptable or unacceptable right from the outset? There is the sort of thing you just should not do. If that is not the case, then it may be possible to do something harmful to an animal, but there have to be good reasons to do it; and the third principle was that you should always carry that out causing the minimum amount of suffering. I think those are three principles which this Committee inevitably are going to have to wrestle with, but they are part of the Government report to the Ministry of Agriculture on use of animals in biotechnology.

DR HELLIWELL: There is a sentence in that conclusions paragraph that says: "In terms of its physiology and behaviour the deer is not well adapted to a long chase." I have a feeling that contradicts the conclusions from the first section of this report that many of the intrinsic attributes of the deer muscle did actually allow it to indulge in repeated sprints with periods of recovery. That may come down to the definition of what it is meant by "long chase", but maybe there is a contradiction there.

THE CHAIRMAN: It was the word "long" that I ringed in my copy and wondered if it was just a definition point we were talking about.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: Can I qualify that, if you had a new breed of horse with big teeth and long horns and it became the predator. Relative then to the deer, the deer would be faced by something which was immediately its superior and in that case, those hunts would be very, very short. When you talk about endurance, it has to be relative to whatever it is that is chasing you. I suppose a tortoise has very good endurance when chased by an earth worm. It is a question of how long do you go on for? The deer has good endurability relative to the hounds in that it can maintain a reasonable pattern of escape and recovery for a prolonged period of time. Can I just myself add a couple of comments? In a way I am addressing Pat next door. You say all these pointers have been challenged, but stacked together they produce a compelling case. Are there not some points where the challenge perhaps does require a modification and if they are no longer a major point, then they have to be in a way taken out of the stack because they are no longer really pertinent. What are all these -- and I do not dispute there are some -- but what are the current lists of pointers which together then produce a compelling case?

PROFESSOR BATESON: I would say on each of the five dimensions there is a cause for concern. We all agree that on the question of muscle damage more work is needed, but I think we have to say that although we have not got the evidence that we would like, we cannot say, and we have actually disproved, there is muscle damage. We have nine animals which have very high levels of CK which a comparison with horses, suggests that they might be in difficulties later on. There is a number of anecdotes which suggest that escaping animals do suffer and die, and, again, we need to have better evidence than the evidence we have, but it is not the case that the effects of extreme stress and capture are known in roe deer as they are well-known in other species and when red deer are chased with helicopters and transported, as they have been done in New Zealand -- when red deer were chased with helicopters and captured a lot of them died and so it does happen, and so it is not as though this is an unknown phenomenon in red deer. It is very well-known in other species and it is also well-known in red deer. That is one area where the evidence is not wonderful, but it is a cause for concern when put together with the other evidence. The evidence that these animals will go on and on and on, until they can go no further provides the behavioural reasons for supposing that they are strongly motivated to get away. There is the evidence of not coping, of non-adaptation. Here there are disputes -- there is no question about it -- but I think we have good reason to suppose that this animals are not able to sustain at high speed for a long time. The average speed of these deer is, as you saw, 5 kilometres per hour and that is because they are getting lots of rest. That is not at all comparable to a marathon and it is not at all comparable to football. It is a quite different kind of scenario. That is why, when we take all these things together. I think there is a welfare problem. Maybe we need to talk about this more.

PROFESSOR HARRIS: I wanted to carry on that sentence, if I can, that the hunting with hounds is a challenge to the welfare of the deer that would not be tolerated in other walks of life. We discussed, of course, other walks of life, meaning laboratory animals, but these are in fact animals in the wild where man has eliminated a substantial predator. What are the sort of challenges that one would admit in the wild as being acceptable, or should we not draw an analogy like that at all?

MR SWANN: Chairman, could I perhaps make a quick comment on that? I think there is a general consensus in most fora that if people are the agent of the control, then you make moral judgments. In a wild encounter between a wolf and a deer, you cannot make any moral judgment. It might distress people considerably, but no moral judgment can be applied because you have a totally wild encounter. The moment you put people into the equation, I believe you have to start making moral judgments and you have to ask about the acceptability of the method and the overriding principle is you use the method which causes least distress and is the quickest method to achieve insensibility, and I think those are ingrained principles which are hammered throughout animal management, not just of wild populations. So I think the moral element comes in because it is actually people who are taking the hounds out there. Comparisons with a natural encounter I think are totally irrelevant.

THE CHAIRMAN: Our tea is ready. I suggest we take 10 minutes out and maybe we will just see whether anyone wishes to make any other comments on this section before we move on to the issues. Could I say there is also tea for the audience at the back.

(Short break).

Back to top

Date uploaded to site 28 April 2000