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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Vigil for Sellafield cull-threat deer

A vigil for the deer due to be culled at Sellafield will be held this weekend.

Deer photo

Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) has organised Sunday’s Free The Deer/Cull Nuclear protest outside the site gates.

Meanwhile, Sellafield has denied claims that it is culling deer in the close season when they could be pregnant.

A spokeswoman said the close season for female roe deer starts on April 1, which is why they are working to cull the animals before then.

It is, however, currently the close season for male deer, so any stags on site could not be culled until after March 31 without a special license.

The deer have become trapped between two security fences at the nuclear plant in west Cumbria. There are thought to be between five and 15 deer involved.

The company says it is acting on advice from experts from the Deer Initiative who say culling the animals is the most humane thing to do.

But protesters believe the animals could be freed and relocated.

More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition against the cull.

Readers of the News & Star also voted overwhelmingly against it in an online poll, with 70 per cent against.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron got involved, passing on the petition to environment secretary Ed Davey.

But Sellafield insists the cull will still go ahead.

The company would not say exactly when. Their spokeswoman said preparation work was underway, to determine where the deer are, their numbers and sex, though they would expect to act quickly before the close season begins.

Marianne Birkby, of RFL, dubbed the cull “outrageous and beyond nasty.”

She added: “The only reason for the fence according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change is to secure the site against terrorists. This is hypocritical hogwash. With new technology fences are absolutely meaningless.”

George Scott, who runs Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue Trust near Wigton, does not feel all of the options have been properly explored. He said: “From what I can gather they seem to be totally intent on going ahead with the cull. The way I feel about animals, it’s the wrong thing to do.

“Nobody seems to be able to tell us how long the deer have been there, how they got there in the first place, how many there are – so how can they prove how much stress they are in?

“I’m still convinced it would be possible to free them.”

The vigil will take place at 3pm on Sunday outside the Sellafield site gates.

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