Agriculture college throws out students for killing animals and posting pictures on Snapchat 'as part of a game'

'Really ashamed to have been associated with this college,' says former student

Will Worley
Saturday 10 June 2017 18:22 BST
Hartpury College is a well regarded agricultural school
Hartpury College is a well regarded agricultural school (Bob Embleton/creative commons)

A student has been expelled and another suspended from a top agricultural college after images circulated online appearing to show them killing and posing with dead animals.

Former students at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, said it was part of a “game” to kill the biggest creature – but many students at the establishment are training for jobs that involve working with animals.

In one video, posted to Snapchat, a fox cub is seen wriggling under a person’s foot, before it has its throat cut with a knife.

A caption posted with the footage said “got the f*****”.

A second still image showed the dead fox with blood staining the fur on the front part of its body.

“The video of the fox cub is both distressing and unacceptable,” a statement by Hartpury College said.

A screengrab of the video which showed a fox cub being having its throat cut
A screengrab of the video which showed a fox cub being having its throat cut (screengrab)

“We are following our disciplinary procedures and students have been suspended from the college. Further action will be taken once our investigations are concluded.”

Gloucestershire police said the video did not depict animal cruelty.

“The fox had been struck in a collision and the student, who is training to be a gamekeeper, acted to dispatch the animal to end its suffering,” the force said.

Another image which caused outrage on social media showed a different student posing with a dead cat.

The animal belonged to a teacher at the college, Gloucestershire Live reported, who had thought the animal had gone missing.

The college is now investigating both incidents and said there was “no evidence” they were related.

But there were suggestions by former students on social media the killings were part of a competition.

“They have a game ... who can kill the biggest animal, post a photo and get away with it,” said Hannah Cunnington, who used to study at the college, on Facebook.

Another woman accused the college of ignoring alleged killings.

“We’ll wait for the next one while the students continue their competition for who can kill the biggest animal that the college are fully aware of,” she said.

“Totally unacceptable. You have been given details of this sick game that the students are playing by both staff and students and have not supported any of your witnesses.

“None of these individuals have had any real consequence and will go on to work in the animal industry. Really ashamed to have been associated with this college.”

There were other accusations on social media decrying the behaviour of some Hartpury College students.

Local wildlife charity Barn Owl Centre said on Twitter: “On local farmland leased to Hartpury, we had five active Barn Owl Boxes completely destroyed. We no longer support Barn Owls around Hartpury!”

Others claimed badgers had also been killed as part of the “game”.

A statement by Hartpury College said: “We continue to work with both the Police and the RSPCA.

“These incidents do not, in any way, reflect the behaviours and beliefs of the college, our students, staff and graduates.”

A local farming event due to be held at the college was cancelled because of media coverage of the images.

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