Petition against Hackney Council fox cull is launched

Hackney Council is planning to cull foxes in Clissold Park

Hackney Council is planning to cull foxes in Clissold Park - Credit: PA WIRE

A petition launched this afternoon in the face of Hackney Council’s plan to cull foxes has gathered more than 500 signatures – and is growing by the minute.

News broke today that the authority is planning on “humanely trapping” and destroying the native foxes in Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, next week due to “health concerns”.

The RSPCA quickly condemned the plan, along with many people on social media.

Hackney Council claim the foxes pose a risk to the deer in the park, as well as visitors to Clissold House – but the RSPCA warned the move was “unnecessary” and will not reduce the population of the animals in the long run. The animal charity urged the council to use “more humane, non-lethal deterrent methods” to discourage the animals.

A petition has now been launched, calling on Hackney Council to reconsider its position.

It reads: “This petition is urging the council to reconsider this decision as there is no evidence foxes pose a risk to the health of either deer or humans.

“If the council are concerned about the number of foxes in the area, it is imperative they use more a humane, non-lethal deterrent methods to discourage these animals in the area.

“People who call for a cull forget or ignore the fact that it has been tried before… and failed. The reality of a fox ‘cull’ is that it would achieve nothing.

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“Prominent wildlife ecologists, including DEFRA, accept that previous attempts to reduce the numbers of a self-regulating species that annually replaces its lost numbers and may not breed at all if numbers are already optimal have failed – WILL always fail.” There are also calls for a public meeting to be held to discuss the plan and “lack of consultation” with local residents.

Vet Caroline Russell, clinical director of Canonbury Vets in Islington, said on Clissold Park users Facebook group: “Whatever the concerns are regarding foxes, culling is just a really bad idea and is likely to make the problem worse, not better. If the same ‘resources’ remain then the void from the dead foxes is very rapidly filled with foxes coming from elsewhere.

“The upset caused by these movements, rather than the more stable population there before, means more disease and more aggression. It’s why culling dogs for rabies doesn’t work and the focus now is on vaccination and neutering. There is plenty of research to back this up.”