THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Any more contributions on this issue of the conclusions about the welfare of the hunt deer?
DR NAYLOR: I just have a contribution on a small point of detail -- I do not know if that is valid.
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes.
DR NAYLOR: It is in this section, "Is the deer adapted to a long chase?" The end of the second paragraph.
PROFESSOR MORTON: Which page?
DR NAYLOR: My page numbering would not match up to yours. Again, it would relate to any further work, but again it would also relate to the understanding of exercise science in this whole scenario: "A more reliable method of determining the deer's capacity for extensive exercise would be to measure maximum aerobic capacity." Again, it is a point of detail, but I would say that that probably is not the best way to do it. The camel, for instance -- it is another athletic species used for racing, has a very low maximal aerobic capacity, can run for prolonged periods, but it can maintain a very high percentage of that maximum for long periods, and that relates to its metabolic make up and how it utilises energy. So just measurement per se of that is not in its own right the end of the story. It may contribute.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. Shall we move on to the issue of the welfare of stalked deer? We had quite a lot of discussion about this this morning. But I would propose that we take this section really as a whole and see to what extent there are any observations on points that people wish to make. Patrick, do you have any opening remarks, or have you said your piece on this?
PROFESSOR BATESON: I think I have.
DR NAYLOR: Sorry to speak again, but it is something that does strike to my mind as very important if one is going to make comparisons of means of culling the excess numbers of deer in the West Country, and the comparison is obviously made between hunting with hounds and stalking. The important point here is the percentage of deer that are wounded or maimed and potentially how long that may occur -- the suffering that may occur subsequent to that. As far as I can gather, these percentages are given by the stalkers and nothing against the stalkers, but if I was a stalker and I was asked to go on a percentage, I would tend to think of the good days, as it were, rather than the bad days. So I think it really has to be considered strongly that one is making these comparisons whilst there has been some objective studies conducted now on hunting with hounds. As far as I am aware, the objectivity of the stalking percentages, while attempts have been made -- I accept that -- it probably does not hold up as a strong comparison at this stage, so if that is used in any overriding decision on this whole question, I hope that is considered very strongly.
THE CHAIRMAN: I think there is a question that has occurred to us on a number of occasions in a similar light. This is that if one was to see shooting carried on by a wider group of people following the end of hunting, would that lead to greater levels of inaccuracy than are being reported in the occasions where it is being done by professional stalkers? I simply put that as a general question. But we have to ask not only how the present situation works, but also how it might be affected if there was to be a change of regime.
MR SWANN: Lord Burns, could I just make one quick point that I did quote this morning from experiences north of the border, which I know you were desperate to tease me about? The statistics there were from the National Trust State in Torridon, the Ben Eighe National Nature Reserve, and an estate in Gairloch which is managed entirely for conservation purposes. The figures there were by professional shooters who were not shooting for financial gain; they were employed either by one of these organisations, and so you have probably the best scenario that you will get and this is why the figures which are shown, which Professor Bateson brought from the West Country, surprised them because one would expect them to be far better, given that experience of marksmanship. I think the crucial thing is to show that that level of marksmanship can be achieved and is achievable, those sorts of figures are achievable, and I think it is down to landowners to insist on this type of accuracy.
THE CHAIRMAN: I said earlier to you that one of the things I have learnt over the last ten days, if I did not know it already, is that everything is done better in Scotland!
DR WISE: Could I come back, Lord Burns, to this point of casualty deer? In my own figures, just as I say 26 deer per annum as opposed to Professor Bateson's nine, and I believe the difference is that quite a lot of these 26 were probably dead on arrival and, therefore, would not have been counted in his figures, but they would, nevertheless, represent deer that were not recovered by those who shot at them, either with a shotgun or with a rifle. If, in fact, one takes the nine from which Professor Bateson derived 4 and a half per cent figure, if you multiply by 3 up to 26.3, you do get a higher level of wounding. I think it is still -- you could say that is a low level in one respect, but those deer probably suffered badly for a long time. I think it is true to say the scientists who have been advising the Countryside Alliance have always said that if they believe for one moment that Professor Bateson's claims about capture myopathy and the great damage done to escaping deer were really true, then hunting would not be justified. We see no reason to suppose that it is true, but we are sure that there is a degree of wounding, not necessarily all by good stalkers by any means, but we are also very persuaded by the casualty which must not be forgotten in all this. In fact I think for every 77 healthy deer killed by the staghounds every year, there are a further 18.5 killed on hunting days and 45.5 casualties on call out days, plus a further 37.2 dead on arrivals. Of the live casualties on call out days, of those 45.5, some are clearly knocked down by the side of the road and do not need dogs to find them, but 29.6 of those per annum on average over five years required the use of hound. If you add that back to the 18.5, it does represent a very significant number of deer accounted for by hounds are, in fact, deer that would have had much more prolonged suffering had they not been so found by hounds. You could therefore argue with a great deal of conviction, I think, that the staghounds working in conjunction with stalkers are, in fact, contributing to the overall welfare of the deer in a positive rather than a negative way.
THE CHAIRMAN: It has been put to us that there are other types of dogs who could do this job. Not necessarily dogs which chase deer but dogs which are more of the pointer variety. And that if you were worried about the issue of casualty deer and even deer which have been wounded, then you can do this with other dogs. You do not need to keep a pack of staghounds in order to do it.
MR SQUIRES: Could I comment on that, gentlemen, and also the point Douglas raised? The first thing is I think all of us involved with deer and their welfare accept that there is a welfare equation as far as casualties are concerned. There are a phenomenal number of deer, as Douglas has quite rightly pointed out, which are injured in the countryside and on the roads on a daily basis and they have to be dealt with quickly. There is no doubt in my mind that where the hunts operate in the west of England they do an excellent job in terms of coping with the casualties. No doubt about that at all. All I would say to you is that of course that is the relatively small part of the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the United Kingdom the same service is provided by a combination of the police, the RSPCA and the welfare organisations and stalkers, either all together or in various combinations, and most police forces have a call-out system based on their ops room which enables them to be able to call out stalkers, RSPCA and a whole plethora of people suitably equipped to deal with casualties throughout the United Kingdom. So I am not belittling what is done in the south-west; it is an important vital job, but it also happens to be done elsewhere in the United Kingdom as well by other organisations. As far as the accident figures are concerned, or rather the injury figures are concerned, I think that the issue that concerns me with Douglas's analysis of the statistics, unless I am totally wrong, is it is based on hypothesis, because the research has not been done in any depth to give us any confidence in the sort of figures that we are talking about. The only real research that I am aware of -- and I hasten to say, once again, I am not a scientist -- in this particular area is the research that was done by Patrick. Having been asked in the early stages by Patrick for these facts and figures and having to say they are not available nationally, and that is a reason why he had to go through the vacillations that he had to go through to try and get any feel for it at all. It is wrong. I believe we should have a feel for the national figures, but for a variety of reasons: Funding; interest; a whole range of activities, reasons. The facts are not available, so what I am suggesting is that all of the statistics that have been bandied around at the moment are based on a very shaky hypothesis because we do not know what we are talking about, with the exception of the figures that Patrick has produced.
MR WATSON: Could I make one more point about the casualty figures? Dr Wise has already mentioned that a number of those deer that have been reported by the hunt are actually sufferers of shotgun wounds. I think we have to differentiate here between those deer that have been legally shot at and those that have been illegally poached and there is a distinct difference. In the main, the deer control that takes place, even in the south-west of England, takes place with a high-powered rifle. Those deer hit by a shotgun are likely to be the deer that have been attempted to be poached. I do not dispute Dr Wise's figures, but whichever the figures are I think we need to take that into account. If I can make a second point about recreational and professional stalkers. Our membership includes over 10,000 stalkers, but 87 per cent of them are actually recreational stalkers and those stalkers aim to do the job to the same standard as the professional stalkers. The only difference is, to my mind, the number of deer those stalkers are shooting each year and there are different criteria for each of the two groups. A professional stalker in the main is shooting a large number of deer in a very short period over the winter and is, therefore, under pressure of time. He therefore has to be quick and he has to be accurate. The recreational stalker has much more time on his side and will therefore take great care to shoot the deer humanely. He may not always succeed, but in the vast majority of cases his aim will be to shoot the deer cleanly and humanely and the difference is that he has the time to do that. Therefore the talk about the difference between recreational and professional stalkers, which you often hear about, yes, there is a difference, but to my mind the aim of all the stalkers is actually to do it to the same standard.
PROFESSOR MORTON: I think it would also be helpful to have some idea of these casualty deer about the extent of the injuries after they have escaped, because they may have, as I say, shotgun wounds which perhaps does not affect them materially at all, or they may have some serious injuries if we are going to try and look at the suffering involved.
PROFESSOR BATESON: It is worth saying that in the carcass analysis that was done by the gamedealers there were some with shotgun wounds, and they clearly were not as a result of stalkers.
MR YOUNGSON: Thank you, Lord Burns. I would like to give you an opportunity to consider our plans for the future in Scotland and Ian, talking as an individual as well as a representative of the Deer Commission for Scotland, we are setting higher and higher culls for many of our deer management groups. Many of our stalkers, professional stalkers, are starting the cull at the beginning of the season and going right on until spring and, in fact, they are making use of authorisations for out of season killing, so really they are working flat out to make culls. Each professional is perhaps coping with several hundred carcasses a year. We are talking about red deer, but the same is true of red, Sika and roe deer in the woodlands. We are moving ahead using the authorisation system. Obviously night shooting is part of it and here we are quite exceptionally strict in who we authorise. Night shooting is all governed by authorisation for all species. So welfare plays a most important part of all shooting operations. In some of our woodland areas, like Galloway, 16 per cent of the cull is taken at night. Again, if you compare this with some of our areas east of Europe, where quite a large proportion of the cull is taken at night of step deer. So really we are quite economical with issuing night shooting authorisations, but at the same time a lot of people have rights to shoot, crofters, and here we are talking about crofters and old farmers who have suffered damage or are likely to suffer damage, again all species of deer. It is very difficult to legislate to improve their efficiency. Obviously they are going to protect their crops and some of them will be rather perhaps willing to take either longer shots than they should, or perhaps not placing the shot as accurately as a lot of our professionals or deer stalkers. So anywhere in a ball game of perhaps increasing culls, everybody is playing a part and we are going down the road as well of control of (inaudible), which is a new section of our act, seeking the agreement of an area to reduce populations or modify them, again for a number of different regions, conservation, woodland regeneration, and so on. If that does not work, we are moving again towards statutory controls and here, again, we will be bringing in teams of controllers to reduce populations very quickly, to extract carcasses like other crops and all forms of hill vehicles. So, again, we are going to have to, just as you are here, think very carefully about welfare issues, because these methods which are going to be used in the future are going to be fast rapid responses to situations. The other point which we are discussing is now with events (inaudible). There is very little evidence now with the fallen venison prices that poaching is a very serious problem. The use of shotguns by poachers is something which happened in the past and it is not very much of a part now in Scotland. The price is so poor of venison, less than 40p a pound skin on carcass meat for red farrow that it really is not worth a poacher's while. The examination of all carcasses of venison, clearly you keep tabs on all venison and their records very closely, but there is very little evidence of injury at all. You hardly see carcasses with shotguns. So really this is just an update on how we are tackling it and learning from the operations here.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.
MR SWANN: It is not just me!
DR WISE: Lord Burns, could I answer your question about dogs and all pointing dogs and that sort of thing? I train pointing dogs, with varying degrees of success. One killed sheep, not by disembowelling it I might say, but that is no longer with us. About 20 per cent of stalkers, I believe, have dogs, and a dog is extraordinarily useful, as long as it is properly well-trained, to find deer that have run off wounded after a stalker has shot. They are trained to come back to the stalker and lead him into where the deer is lying. I think the problem is that very often on Exmoor, and other areas, it is not the stalkers wounded animals; it is the ones that have been hit by vehicles and run off. They are seen by somebody in a locality and one does not know quite where they are, they have gone to lie out somewhere. The single dog may or may not find the deer if after an hour or two you have managed to get the stalker on site and he is one of the 20 per cent of stalkers with a dog, but the response time is likely to be long and a single dog will have a very great difficulty in holding a deer that is still capable of running away. Maybe the stalker will get a shot, maybe he will not. Equally, as you will not know whose property that deer is on at the time, there may be difficulties for the stalker in following that deer up. I think there is a general agreement with most people for casualty service that the hounds work frightfully well and I do not see anything else that would do as well. That is not to say that stalkers should not have dogs. I think they should be encouraged.
THE CHAIRMAN: I think I read somewhere that it is the case that in Germany stalkers are required to have dogs.
MR WATSON: Yes, there are two points really. We did a survey about four years ago which looked at the number of dogs owned by stalkers and, in fact, the figures that came out were 37 per cent -- sorry, 39 per cent for professional stalkers and something over 20 per cent for recreational stalkers. That is not to denigrate the point that Mr Wise is making. In certain European countries it is mandatory to have a dog with you; in other countries it is mandatory to have a dog available to follow up a deer, if necessary.
MR SWANN: If I could just make the point, Lord Burns, please, that where the RSPCA is asked to help with injured deer, then first of all with the assistance of a police officer power of entry to a property is not a problem. Secondly, the RSPCA does have a list of people with suitable dogs in areas where they can call on them if there is a need to do so. Once again, obviously, in certain areas it is easier than others, but it is something which people are used to dealing with and I think this point was made earlier, that these are things that people are used to dealing with in areas where hunting is not practised.
THE CHAIRMAN: Any other points on this issue? I suspect we are probably entering into the stage of fatigue; whether very serious fatigue or not I am not sure. Would it be sensible if we simply had one further round of the table and then call it a day? So that people could take the opportunity, if they wished, to make any final comments? For my purpose we have had a very useful discussion and a lot of good points have come up and I am sure that the authors will be looking at them. So if I start maybe with Professor Morton and simply ask if you wish to make any final points. You do not have to, if there is nothing you wish to add.
PROFESSOR MORTON: Thank you. Maybe I could just say some of the points that I crystalised in my mind: One is that I think it is important to look at the evolution of the species and Professor Bateson has made this point, but I think the species has evolved to cope mentally as well as physically. It is a sedentary animal, it is used to short chases to get away from wolves and I am talking about evolution taking place over tens of thousands of years, not the selective culls that have probably gone on in deer hunts for the last thousand or so. We have been breeding rats for research, for example, for at least 100 years, but when you put them back into the wild they go straight back into their wild behaviour, so despite domestication they have always got those wild instincts which is rather interesting and I suspect that deer, although they have been selected in some way or another it has probably been pretty random and they are still probably as they were several tens of thousands of years ago. So when they come up against an inescapable threat, I think that mentally that is going to have severe consequences on them and I think that has generally been conceded in terms of the last 20 minutes or half an hour. I think you have a very, very difficult job here, because you are talking about how you compare two things in terms of the suffering that may go on for two or three hours of a hunt with 50 per cent of the animals escaping and not knowing what happens to those -- it does seem to me the carted deer would still provide some answers and we need to have more information from them -- against the X per cent or 5 per cent or less, probably as we have heard it could be over 99 per cent if suitable controls were put in of deer that are shot and some of those escape and they may have a slow lingering death, so how does one add the suffering up? It is a burden that I am pleased I do not have. I think as a general rule as a society we wish to treat animals well, we wish to be humane. As Bill said, we are moral agents and part of that involves not abusing animals and it also involves causing the minimum amount of suffering and it involves trying to enforce good practice, if not best practice. I think it is on those sort of general criteria that can be accepted by most people that we are trying to find our way, looking at the evidence, to determine what is best practice and to try and not cause suffering that is avoidable. In terms of the environmental ethics of the gentleman over there from BASC, talking about the herd as opposed to the individual, I think that is absolutely right, but at the end of the day what determines how concerned people are about it is the suffering of the individual. I think most people are agreed that herds have to be controlled in some way or another, I think we are just talking about the most humane way of doing it.
MR SWANN: Shall we just carry on?
THE CHAIRMAN: Yes, please.
MR SWANN: I do not want to say much because I endorse what David said. From one of the previous opening addresses I put a paragraph in and decided to take it out, but I have likened Professor Bateson's work to what if we are trying to construct in the animal welfare science world a sort of jigsaw at the Houses of Parliament, we now have the clock face at Big Ben which means we know what the building is but we have still got an awful lot of work to do. In that context, I think the paper that we have discussed today has gone an awful long way to showing us exactly what the overall picture is. Let us not forget all the work that has to be done and in the meantime, while that work is getting done, we have to make ethical judgments and I thoroughly endorse what David said, in that we have to aspire to best practice. In my view best practice is based on the definition that we had earlier that it is least disturbance of the animal in its natural environment and it is the most rapid route to insensibility. With those key points I will close.
PROFESSOR MORTON: Could I possibly come back just for one second because you did surprise me with going round that way? One of the other things I wanted to say is that we have a dilemma about who gets the benefit of the doubt at the end of the day. If there is genuine doubt, as I think there is, then should we give that to the animal, or should we give it to the human benefit that occurs that is balanced against those animal harms?
DR WISE: Lord Burns, we have not actually discussed the adaptation. It has been the stated repeatedly that deer are not adapted for a long chase. One piece of evidence Professor Bateson gave was the unguligrade stance was a transport mechanism rather than for avoiding predators. Well, in that case it is a little surprising that the deer's muscle does not comprise a lot of different slow fibres types, type 1 fibres rather than fast type 2, 3, fibres and it is also a bit surprising it has so much glycogen and histidine dipeptide if in fact evolution for the avoidance of predators was not important. The next point arises as to whether the predators always catch deer in the short chases. One might almost suppose that the wolf, which was possibly the main predator of the red deer, might well have evolved into a cat if it was going to catch deer all the time and ambush it, because the wolf has an ability to use its nose and it has stamina. Professor Geist makes a very strong point that deer and wolves would both have evolved and been under most selection pressure at times when the prey species was relatively less plentiful and the wolves have to work harder. Under those circumstances there is no reason to suppose that wolves would not hunt in very much the same way as hounds and that would have been the more normal condition, I believe, under which deer would have evolved. The evidence we have cited is from zoologists who go and study the few wolves that are left in areas where there are a heck of a lot of deer and they do not have to work very hard to catch them. Very often they study them in the middle of winter because it is very much easier to follow them. That way the deer fall through the snow, allowing wolves to travel on top, so I believe one has to be very, very careful indeed to suggest that the deer is not evolved capable of prolonged pursuit.
DR ADDISON: I was discussing at tea with Professor Morton here and there is some evidence or possibility that exercise tends to absorb fear to some extent. I realise it can be dangerous to argue for humans, but a lot of athletes are very fearful before a race starts, even to the point of throwing up, but once the gun goes that fear goes completely. I have discussed this in terms of the flight and fight reaction, as to whether fear plus the flight and fight reaction are not additive, but actually one reduces the other. That is just a possibility. One quick point: I actually have been chased by a helicopter, as it were, across the track at Stoke Mandeville Hospital which has a landing pad for helicopters and one day I was going up there and the helicopter took off and had to swing round because of the wind right over my head. I began to panic, so I think if I wanted to upset a deer's welfare I would hunt it by a helicopter. That might relate to some of the problems those who talk about Professor Bateson who were chased by helicopter. I think it is a very special case which is chased by a helicopter.
MR SWIFT: I think three broad points strike me. The first is that having heard a lot about the physiology and pathology of hunted individual deer, I still believe that one should be looking also in the context of the population as a whole, and also looking at that population in the socio-economic context in which it exists in the south-west of England. To lose that architecture around the problem is likely to be a dangerous proposition. You say who should have the benefit of the doubt? I am not convinced from the point that I said this morning that once you upset the very subtle relationships which exist in areas like the south-west of England, or in any rural area, then you start to have unforeseen consequences and probably unpredictable consequences which could be harmful in quite a wide way, but that is a reaction that I have. I think that one needs to look at the population. You need to look at the wider context. Professor Bateson's research addresses the particular question of wounding rates from stalking and I would just like to conclude about the comments that he makes about training of stalkers, which I would really like to underline at this stage. As I said this morning, the research showed clearly that the current voluntary system of training produces very low levels of deer escaping wounded, and the estimates of 2 per cent are going to be very difficult to beat, and certainly they set a target which training should be directed towards achieving in all areas. I think that the voluntary system that has been developed by the NGOs in the UK over the last two or three years under the guise of deer management qualifications, which in turn falls into context with the deer initiative which has been cited in various places in the evidence that we had before this inquiry, that that training, that voluntary training system, is starting to work very well and in the last 16 months 2,793 people have taken the first stage of that training programme and 1300 and have proceeded towards the more advanced second stage of the deer stalker stimulant. I think that even though we have very high levels of stalking competence by and large, this is a step further in the right direction. I think also that landowners are aware of and endorse the various existing training programmes and they are increasingly expecting trained stalkers on their land. I do believe from experience and knowledge that there is an increased use of dogs by stalkers to track and locate shot deer and that that decreases the likelihood of escape of wounded deer. Obviously from the stalking side we have to resist any sense of complacency, and Professor Bateson's study is unable to present any evidence that the present system of legal stalking is defective, certainly within the context that he was looking at the problem. I realise that is geographically restrictive. You go on to say, sir, that the interests of animal welfare and stalking could be further refined so that the probability of suffering is very small. I think that was at page 68 of your report, but you give no suggestion of what those further refinements are, but I would just reassure this inquiry that, together with partner organisations in the stalking world, we are continuously working to improve training and skills, but we would, however, resist any suggestion that a system of mandatory testing would make an impact on already very low rates of wounding. I believe that for the following reasons: We believe that effort will be better spent on encouraging these systems that we have in place which we are developing at the moment, which will encourage the greatest level of support from those they are setting out to benefit. Thank you very much
DR HELLIWELL:. Thank you. I am going to make a brief general comment. I have been quite impressed from the discussion today and the draft document that we have learnt a lot about the physiology and pathology of the consequences of exercise on deer as a result of the two studies we have been discussing. I think there has been really quite a surprisingly broad general level of agreement on the strengths and limitations of the scientific work, and really I hope that when there is a final draft that we are able to avoid the selective quotation of particular items of evidence which lose the perspective that I think is present in most of this report. I think we are agreed in most areas, and when selective items are quoted that the science gets a bad name.
MR YOUNGSON: Thank you, Lord Burns. I can only support the work which you have done in the report. I think our task is probably going to be made extremely difficult to implement the work because just about every continent of the world, is experiencing increased populations of deer of all species this poses quite a threat to the habitats. So whatever we decide really has to be translated into methods which can be used by those in the field. In this country as well with land reform and public access it is putting more of a stress on deer stalkers, and on deer with more disturbance at many times of year when deer need to be quiet, using the resource, especially winter time and calving time. There are a lot of aspects which should tie up with your report. Thank you very much.
MR SQUIRES: I would like to start again with welfare of deer, if I may? The first is that the Deer Society is delighted to see both the studies that have been tabled here. It is an area which has caused an awful lot of dissention in the past and comments tend generally to have been totally objective and partisan, depending on which side of the equation you happen to be standing on. We now have two scientific studies which actually, in my judgment, give us an excellent jumping off point to start looking at the issues in general and for that I think the Society would, with your permission, Lord Burns, wish to thank both studies for the considerable amount of work they have done. There is no totally stress free method of controlling deer and anybody who believes that there is, is aiming for the sky and going to be disappointed. It does not matter whether you are talking about hunting or stalking, shooting, there is bound to be some level of stress involved to the animal. We have talked around the issues at some considerable length and I am not going to look again, but what I would say is that both have their strengths; both have their weaknesses, quite obviously. I suspect, rather as previous speakers have said, you are going to have an extremely difficult job to do trying to determine which particular path to follow. Not an enviable task at all. As far as shooting is concerned, I can essentially emphasise the point that has been made by John Swift, we really ought to be looking at the shooting world to the various higher standards of shooting ability, shooting safety, coupled with welfare and a good understanding of the countryside and the pray. I would totally endorse what he has previously said about the need for training, voluntary training, hopefully 100 per cent voluntary training, but certainly training to try and ensure that all the time we strive for higher and higher standards. The standards are good at the moment, but, like everything, we can do better and that is our aim. A point on the hunts, if I may? I have been working in the West Country now intimately with the hunts Exmoor deer and so on for the last seven years and I would say to the Inquiry that the hunts provide quite extraordinary controls in the west of England. That is something I would ask you to take note of. Discussion of the number of deer culled by the hunts I believe is academic. That is not the issue. I believe -- and it has already been hinted at -- that probably a greater issue of the control of the deer is the control of the people, because it is the people who control the deer, and the level of control exercised in my judgment by the hunts over the people on Exmoor is significant. There is generally a broad consensus about what has to be done to the deer and the way that it has to be and the way that it should be done. A part of the baseline upon which you are going to be debating is quite obviously is hunting, whether it should continue or not. I think very great emphasis ought to be placed on that level of consensus that the hunts have achieved and if, ultimately, the decision goes that the hunts go, then it is vital that there is not a vacuum left behind. It is critical, absolutely critical that the knowledge and the expertise that exists in the hunts ideally should be incorporated into whatever new organisation is put in its place. I am not, hopefully, prejudging the exercise; I am just asking that that knowledge and expertise is not chucked out with the bathwater, otherwise we are going to have a vacuum and that potentially in that part of the world could be an Armageddon situation for the deer, which will be disastrous. Both David Morton and William Swann have mentioned best practice. Without repeating it, I endorse 100 per cent what both of them have said and I subscribe to their arguments.
DR KIRKWOOD: It is clear that there is very great commitment to animal welfare on both sides of this debate and it is a far less simple issue than many people perceive, or appreciate. We have spoken quite a bit about adaptation. It seems to me there is a danger of taking this too far. The deer, as I see it, are quite clearly well enough adapted and fit enough to keep running for as long as they do and no more. There has been talk of some further studies of adaptation, but I would ask people to consider very carefully what the purpose of this woudl be. Are we going to really be able to take this issue much further? If the deer were better adapted or fitter they would be able to run further. If the deer were less well adapted or not so fit, they would run less far. We have talked about the interpretation of physiological data and, although I think this point is well perceived, it may be worth repeating. Evolution has equipped us with a feeling system, a system of sticks and carrots essentially, a system that creates fear or pain to make us move away from bad things and which gives us good feelings if we move towards things that are good for us from the point of view of evolutionary fitness. There can be two reasons for running: to get away from something bad that induces bad feelings, or to move towards something that induces good feelings. The physiological effects of the running may be rather similar, and to interpret them, and you have to look at the context of what the animal (or human) is running for. I believe the deer are telling us in running to exhaustion that being chased by hounds induces strongly unpleasant feelings in them. I think that it emerges from this meeting that better data on wounding rates from stalking would be a good thing. There do seem to be uncertainties about this and it is a very important issue. Whatever happens in the future we would all like to know what the injury rate through shooting is and how severe the injuries caused by misshots are. My final point is that I think there has been a gradual change in attitude to animals that has been going on for a number of years. This is a reflection of our increasing knowledge of their biology and of our insight into their minds, which perhaps started with Darwin. Hunting is an old tradition and perhaps if it had not begun pre-Darwin, it probably would not begin now. I think the issue should be judged on welfare. It is not an easy matter and I congratulate the Inquiry on their efforts to deal with it.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much.
PROFESSOR BATESON: Could I say, Chairman, that when you outlined your scheme for running this thing I was a bit sceptical whether the seminar could achieve anything, but I have to say it has achieved a lot and I think both Roger and I will change the character of our report quite a lot as a result of discussion and I think that is thanks to everybody who is here. I think you have done a remarkable job of keeping the temperature down and the light up and I think we are very grateful to you for that. I do not need to tell people here, but I have been accused of all manner of things and what I really am interested in is the evidence. What actually has been important about the study that we did and the study that Roger has done was that these studies raised the standard of the argument. I think things said that now would not have been said a few years ago and things which were said a few years ago that would not be said now. I think the quality of the rational argument has improved no end so I am pleased about that. I think that is really all I want to say except to congratulate you on keeping the seminar so calm.
PROFESSOR HARRIS: I think Patrick is speculating again and I am not sure how calm it has been, but perhaps we should take some measurements of rectal temperature. The only thing that I would say is in the course of the report we will try to bring in some of the other data which is really the data that Mr David Denny at the back there has been collecting and also the data that is from Ireland and we will try to include that. I became involved with this in the end of 1997. I thought I had finished with it completely last year. I hope that with the end of this maybe that will be correct. I think it has been a superb meeting. I have learnt a tremendous amount and have enjoyed it enormously and I hope from this will come a proper decision.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much and thank you for those kind remarks. People on this side of the table start from a much lower level of knowledge than people on the other three sides of the table. I think there have been times that we have been struggling, but I also feel that we have made quite a lot of progress. I support the view that says that science has contributed something to this process in terms of findings . But it is also my impression that it still cannot answer all the questions. On the physiological measurement there seems to be quite a good measure of agreement. On some areas I think it is also agreed that more work is needed, muscle damage, kidney damage. I think it is also agreed there could be a better collection of the blood samples. We cannot do that extra work. Maybe it will be done at some stage, but we have to work with what it is that we have. Clearly when it comes to the balancing of factors, life does become more difficult and there is less agreement about that. What we want to seek to do is to see how far different views are evidence based, how far they are interpretation and how far it is extrapolation of other situations. I think it does become more difficult, and we have seen as we went through the day. Particularly with the question of alternative methods of culling. Finally, of course, we have not looked at other species. My understanding is there is a lot of agreement that one of the conclusions may be that experience with deer cannot be easily carried over to other forms of hunting. We have to take that issue on before we finish. We are very grateful for all of the contributions. I am very grateful for the patience and good humour that everyone has shown. I think it has been constructive. I hope that after further reflection we may be able to edge this nearer together. We very much look forward to the further report. I think we will also be looking at the transcript with a lot of interest. Sometimes on a second reading it is possible to get more out of it. But from my point of view, and I think the Committee's point of view, we have probably done as well today as we could hope to do. As you said Patrick, when we started this process and I outlined to you and Roger how it was that we were hoping to take it forward, it was speculative. I was not quite sure how far one could go; whether or not it was possible to move the debate forward. I hope that we have done that to a degree. And I hope that when it comes to the final report we will have been able to get even further along that road. I am very grateful to everybody for giving up their time because it has helped us a great deal. Thank you very much. Could I make one other point for people who have not been contributing to the debate. We would of course welcome any written comments, either in terms of the paper or in terms of the discussion that has taken place. When the transcript does appear, which we hope will be as quickly as possible, I hope that those who feel that they have not had a chance to make their contribution , and some of them may be in the audience, they will make that contribution at a later stage.
(The Inquiry adjourned until 10.30 am on Wednesday, 19th April 2000)
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