As part of our work each year we communicate with over 60 policy groups and organisations, attend more than 30 shows and participate in over 100 other events throughout our branch network. Our current campaigns include:
Drive Deer Aware
Across the UK it is estimated there are up to 74,000* deer-related motor vehicle accidents, resulting in injury and suffering to deer, the death or injury of several hundred people each year and thousands of pounds worth of vehicle damage. This campaign encourages the erection of warning signs to alert motorists about the presence of deer on roads in high-risk animal collision areas.
* figures ex the Deer Initiative
Recent campaign successes include:
Poaching can lead to a number of animal welfare issues, serious loss of income from the illegal taking of game and fish, and damage to crops and land. Poachers may also be involved with many other rural crimes from theft of dogs and livestock to burglary. BDS is committed to increasing awareness of poaching as a serious wildlife crime and building better trust and relationships between the police and local communities to improve prevention, promote better intelligence and increase enforcement.
BDS is an active member of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime UK (PAW UK) which helps statutory and non-government organisations to work together to combat wildlife crime. Its objectives are to reduce wildlife crime through effective and targeted enforcement, better regulation and improved awareness. Wildlife crime includes offences like poaching, killing or disturbing protected species or damaging their breeding and resting places, and illegally trading in endangered species.
BDS is also a member of the Poaching Priority Delivery Group (England & Wales) which brings together a range of organisations and police officers to tackle poaching issues. The group launched Project Trespass in October 2013 to coordinate action across England and Wales and has seen some good results.
Hazards to Deer
Fencing material and netting of all descriptions, whether in use or discarded, is a regular hazard for all wildlife including Britain’s wild deer which can get it caught around their heads, legs and bodies. BDS actively campaigns to raise awareness and help reduce these incidents which too frequently lead to injury or death for the deer involved.
Another area of concern is plastic pollution and litter. Litter is not just an unsightly mess, it is a very real danger to wildlife including deer. Animals don’t know that litter isn’t food and sadly, ingesting litter has been linked to the death of deer in both the UK and aboard.
Deer will frequently sample unusual items which can ultimately become the cause of their death and have been found later with items such as plastic bags and baler twine filling their stomachs. They can also entangle themselves in rope or netting which has been carelessly left lying around. Deer in parks or other places where they are habituated to hand-feeding by humans are especially prone to eating unsuitable items.
We have no way of knowing how many wild deer die annually from such causes. BDS urges everyone to be more aware of the harm plastic and litter pollution can cause and to help in the following ways:
- Discard of litter correctly and take litter home if you can.
- Help by supporting local clean up schemes to help reduce litter and plastic pollution.
- Try to reduce the amount of waste we all produce including litter and plastic pollution.
Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is highly infectious and has devastating effects on both wild and farmed deer. BDS is campaigning hard, along with other organisations, to keep CWD out of the UK by promoting awareness of the issue at border control points.
We encourage visitors to the UK to be vigilant about the cleanliness and biosecurity of outdoor equipment. While the highest risks appears to be with those engaged in sporting shooting, anyone hiking or camping in infected areas has the potential to bring back infection on dirty boots, clothes or equipment.
This website has a page in the Science and Research section dedicated to CWD which is kept up to date with all the latest developments.