Horrible moment deer is mauled by hounds during a hunt
- Credit: Archant
A gruesome video has emerged showing a muntjac deer being mauled by four hounds during a hunt.
Animal rights activists have condemned the hunting group after footage was taken of the deer trying to run away from the dogs before apparently becoming stuck in a fence and being mauled for around a minute.
It was shot on Tuesday, February 18 in Frostenden by a so-called 'hunt monitor' who was watching The Waveney Harriers, who regularly hunt in North Suffolk and South Norfolk.
The woman who is filming it can be heard screaming and calling for help throughout, before the organisers managed to drag their dogs away.
It is against the law for hunters to pursue any mammal with the use of more than two hounds.
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The Harriers say they were in the middle of a legal 'scent' hunt with no kill intended when their dogs became distracted by hunt saboteurs before attacking the deer.
However, a spokesperson for the Norfolk and Suffolk Hunt Saboteurs, said none of their members attended the hunt, and claim the Waveney Harriers failed to 'control their dogs to prevent the attack'. They have called for a police investigation and prosecution into the incident.
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They added: "The deer is helplessly attacked for more than a minute. You can hear a 70-year-old woman, who was monitoring the hunt to ensure it was legal, screaming. She is clearly very distressed.
"The hunt leaders and kennelmen eventually arrive and crack their whip in an attempt to get the dogs away from the deer. But this is not the first time we have seen this sort of thing happen.
"Hunts will often say hounds pursue an animal by accident, but it is reckless that the huntsmen were not there. They should be present to control their hounds."
After the footage emerged, comedian Ricky Gervais called for the group's prosecution.
"I will never understand the joy in chasing a terrified animal for miles and then watching a pack of dogs rip it to death," he said.
"These people should be prosecuted and made to seek psychological help. This has no place in a civilised world."
The saboteur spokesperson said: "Mr Gervais doesn't blunt his words and I agree. This is an incredibly unfit pursuit for the 21st Century."
A spokesperson for the Waveney Harriers said the incident 'happened as a direct consequence of the actions of hunt saboteurs who distracted a few of our young hounds'.
They added: "We can confirm that the deer escaped without serious injury and that our hunt staff removed the hounds from the area as quickly as possible.
"Our professional hunt staff take great pride in the education of their hounds which they take out into the countryside. Although incidents of this nature are regrettable, they are thankfully also very rare."