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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 December, 2003, 17:16 GMT
Deer cull condemned
Ickworth House
The National Trust opened a hotel at Ickworth House last year
A herd of deer housed at a National Trust historic house is to be disbanded - and some may be culled - because they are too expensive to maintain

But a Suffolk animal welfare group has condemned the trust's decision.

About 120 deer live in the park at Ickworth Park near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.

The National Trust says it cannot handle the cost of maintaining the herd, because the people who currently look after the deer are to retire.

'Difficult decision'

Richard Hill, the managing agent for the National Trust told BBC Radio Suffolk the matter has been given a lot of thought.

Mr Hill said: "It has obviously been a very difficult decision to take, and we appreciate that.

"But it's just one of those things, and we just unfortunately cannot take it on."

Kathy Macklin, with Ipswich Animal Rights, told BBC News Online the idea that the National Trust could not afford the deer was "absurd".

"It has well over three million members, which makes it the biggest conservation group in Europe, which means they aren't very hard up."

Deer 'part of nature park'

Ms Macklin said the deer were one of the main attractions at Ickworth Park.

"They advertise these nature rambles, so culling them is not going to go down very well, and if they cull any of them, there will be a public outcry.

"I'm sure they could re-home some - and failing that - they could release some in small groups to local woodlands.

"But to say they can't afford them is nonsense."

Appeal to save fenland
30 Oct 03  |  Cambridgeshire
Saving the Suffolk Punch
21 Oct 03  |  Science/Nature
National Trust moves house
02 Jan 03  |  England

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