Plans to create a larder to store carcasses of red deer shot across the Lake District, north of England, have been withdrawn after many local residents, including vegans, complained. United Utilities (UU), the landowner which owns much land in the region, had applied for planning permission to create a deer larder building on land it owns close to residents’ homes at Burnbanks, near Haweswater. The North Lakes Red Deer Group shoots red deer across the 10,000 hectares around Haweswater, and they claimed they need a place to store the bodies and let them cool down. 

However, residents felt appalled by the idea. For instance, Jacqui and Tony Whitfield reportedly told planners: “We love the deer. We’ve even fed them in the garden, but now we’re afraid to get too friendly with them and we don’t want them to trust us in case they get shot. We used to see them all the time and now we hardly see them at all. It is so sad to think that such proud animals can be shot.” Resident Diana Nicolson said, “the sight of carcasses being handled will be very offensive to some of the residents who are vegetarian and vegan and the smell associated with processing carcasses can be both strong and unpleasant.”

Last year, the National Trust, Forestry England and United Utilities suspended licences for hunts to conduct trail hunting on their land after a top hunting official, Mark Hankinson, was convicted concerning illegal hunting. Although he was later cleared on appeal, the National Trust voted to ban trail hunting permanently, and so far it appears United Utilities has not renewed the hunts’ licences. Therefore, perhaps foxes may have a better life in the Lake District now that will not be chased by a pack of hounds anymore, but, sadly, deer are still persecuted.  

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.