RSPCA urges Hackney Council to scrap fox cull

Urban foxes playing. Photo David Jones PA

Urban foxes playing. Photo David Jones PA - Credit: PA WIRE

The RSPCA animal welfare charity has urged Hackney Council not to kill foxes in Clissold Park.

An anonymous tip off revealed the parks department’s plan to “humanely trap” and then destroy the native foxes next week.

The source, who blamed the increase of foxes in the Stoke Newington park on the fact the bins had not been emptied, said: “I want to give local people the opportunity to protest about this as I am sure many people will be outraged.”

The council admitted plans to bring in qualified contractors to trap and ‘dispose of the foxes in strict accordance with animal welfare guidelines’, because some foxes had set up home in the park’s deer enclosure.

A spokesman for the council said: “They pose a severe health risk to the deer, as well as a potential health risk to visitors to Clissold House.

“The Council has been advised against relocating the foxes as this will cause them high levels of stress and could lead to the animals suffering a prolonged death.

“The trapping is being restricted to the deer enclosure and nowhere else in the park.”

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But the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) urged the council to reconsider its plans, warning the move is unnecessary and will not reduce the fox population in the area in the long run.

“There is no evidence that the foxes will pose a disease risk to either the deer in the park or humans in the area,” said a spokesman for the RSPCA.

“Culling these animals is unlikely to accomplish anything as the territory will then be left vacant and it is likely that another group will move in instead. Foxes rarely interact with humans or deer.”

The animal charity advised the council should use “more humane, non-lethal deterrent methods” to discourage the animals.

“If foxes are coming into the park we would encourage people to make sure that there are no food sources available, particularly in terms of managing rubbish,” said the spokesman.

“If the problem is confined to the deer enclosure, we would encourage the council to provide a method by which the foxes can leave but not get back in as well as ensuring that foxes cannot get back in the future - one way gates for example, have proven effective in other species.

“While some may not like foxes, many people like seeing them in the wild and consider them a vital part of British wildlife.

“A lot of people take great pleasure in seeing foxes wandering around, and enjoy the idea of wildlife thriving.”