SIR,–Will you allow me to call attention to the worrying of a tame deer, under the name of sport, which took place near Cambridge on October 21, and was reported next day in the “Cambridge Daily News,” as follows :–
“At the Shelford level crossing, about three o’clock yesterday, writes Mr. E. J. Culyer, I was the witness of a disgraceful act of cruelty perpetrated in the name of sport. A party of huntsmen were clustered round the gatekeeper’s cottage, in the yard of which a deer they had been hunting had taken refuse. Members of the party climbed on to a shed in the yard, and with whips and poles endeavoured to drive the deer out into the open. After a quarter of an hour’s labour they managed to drive the poor brute on to the road, and the hounds were released in pursuit. The deer, however, instead of making off, turned round, dashed through the hounds and huntsmen, across the level crossing, and over the fence into the yard again. Again the poles and brooms and whips were brought into play, and the deer was driven along the side of the house. The hounds were again let loose, and the deer again let loose, and the deer again charged amongst them, back into the yard. Eventually, the deer was driven to the front of the house, where it took refuge in the doorway. It was dripping blood from a wound in its chest, which had apparently been caused by barbed wire. Two or three huntsmen then twined the thongs of their whips round its neck and dragged it into the roadway again. Again it returned, and again the disgusting scene was repeated, the deer by this time being completely exhausted. After about five minutes it was brought out once more struggling on to the road, where it dropped. The gallant huntsman urged it to its feet, but it was quite unable to stand, and in a few minutes expired. The deer was then decapitated, the head, no doubt, being secured as a trophy of the day’s sport. I expostulated with the huntsman on their cruelty, and pointed out to them that if any of the villagers present had ill-treated a horse or pig he would be heavily fined by the friends of the huntsman, or by the huntsmen themselves, for cruelty to animals. One of the men turned round and ejaculated ‘Socialist.’”
Mr. Culyer, a well-known Cambridge resident, who vouches for the accuracy of this account, adds that the scene at the close was most disgusting. One of the huntsmen told a villager to remove the head of the deer, and in the presence of a large number of children the man ripped off the animal’s head, and body left for the time by the roadside.
The whole incident furnishes yet another proof that there is urgent need for the passage of the Cruelty to Animals Bill, which would render such scenes impossible.–Yours faithfully,
Henry S. Salt
Justice, November 6, 1909, p. 10