Animal rights activists organised a “lock-on” at closing time in the Park, chaining themselves to the Park gates until Tuesday morning and chanting with signs.
The group said their aim was to provoke urgent changes in the Park’s methods of population control.
They claimed that “more humane alternatives” such as immune-contraceptives that can be injected or darted into deer, were not being explored by the Park.
Protester, Lesley Dove, was one member who locked herself onto the gates of Bushy Park. She stayed overnight from 10:30pm until 5am the next day, when she was released by a friend carrying the keys.
The 11-year animal rights campaigner said:
“We demand an end to the killing of healthy animals in parks. They should consult Animal Aid regarding non-lethal forms of control on deer numbers.”
A spokesperson for the Royal Parks said:
“As a member of the British Deer Society, The Royal Parks takes deer welfare very seriously and all aspects of their health are regularly monitored. In addition, both the Society and the Deer Initiative of England and Wales fully endorse humane culling.
“The Royal Parks is an expert manager of enclosed deer herds, which are under veterinary supervision. Deer populations are actively managed to keep herds at a sustainable size.
“Without population control, food would become scarce and more animals would ultimately suffer. There would also be other welfare issues such as low body fat, malnutrition, high incidence of death from exposure to cold in winter and a build-up of parasites and diseases in deer.
“It must be stressed that The Royal Parks manage the herds in Bushy and Richmond Parks as wild populations and do not undertake commercial deer farming. Any money that is raised from the sale of venison is directly reinvested into caring for the herds, and this only partially covers the cost of looking after the deer.”