A video posted online on September 19 shows the suffering of a deer chased down by a hunting party with hounds in the northern French town of Compiègne. The exhausted animal stayed for about three hours near a construction site in Compiègne where it was protected by local police. 

Mid-morning on Saturday, September 19, several residents of the town of Compiègne first saw an exhausted deer that had collapsed near a construction site. In one of the videos posted online, the visibly exhausted deer pants. "I saw about twenty hunting dogs, who were clearly excited,” the man who posted the video wrote. “At first, I didn’t understand, until I saw the poor deer on the side of the road.”

ÂME SENSIBLE S’ABSTENIR Aujourd’hui samedi 19 Septembre 2020 aux alentours de 9h15 du matin aux abords de l’ancien...

Publiée par Fernando Abreu sur Samedi 19 septembre 2020
“NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED,” warns Fernando Abreu in his post, in French. He explains that on Saturday, September 19, 2020 around 9:15am, he saw about twenty hunting dogs, who were clearly excited. “At first, I didn’t understand, until I saw the poor deer on the side of the road who was completely exhausted and terrified by the dogs barking,” he said. Several vehicles pulled up alongside the dogs and Abreu realized it was a hunting party.

The hunting party that chased down this deer used a pack of hounds, who run down the animal, exhaust it and surround it. The human hunters accompany the pack on foot, on bike, on horse or even by car.

The AVA association (a French acronym that stands for “Abolissons la vénerie aujourd’hui”, or “Let’s abolish
 the hunt today!”) also posted a compilation video showing footage of the same suffering animal on Facebook.
Some of the videos also show members of AVA actually chasing the hunting party. 



Many people reacted with outrage online: "[The person who organized this hunting party] should be chased to exhaustion for several kilometers so he can feel what this poor deer feels,” wrote the man who filmed the first video. 
 
The deer is safe and sound
 
Police set up a security barrier around the exhausted deer. It spent about three hours on the sidewalk catching its breath before finally fleeing into the construction zone and eventually returning safe and sound to the forest.

The mayor of Compiègne, who is a fan of hunting with hounds, actually surprised some by condemning the incident, demanding that the hunting club responsible should "punish the club president” who decided to hunt down the deer during its rutting season, when it was particularly vulnerable. The mayor did, however, state that he believed hunting with hounds was “the most civilized form of hunting” and called for members to behave in an irreprochable manner in order to protect the “future of these traditions.”

The hunting club implicated in the incident, the Futaie des amis, already made headlines in late 2017 when videos emerged showing the extreme violence of hunting with hounds. According to the French research institute Ifop,
more than 80% of French citizens are opposed to this kind of hunting and want it to be banned like it is in Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom.


>> Read on The Observers: French activists expose 'barbaric' hunting with hounds