One of the country's largest vegan organizations has written to supermarket Sainsbury's after a fox was allegedly shot outside one of its stores.
Campaigners from Animal Aid in Kent have urged CEO Micke Coupe to commit to the use of humane wildlife deterrence following the trapping and shooting of a fox at the store in Crayford.
A member of the public witnessed the fox being trapped and shot by a ‘pest’ controller as they passed the store and took to social media to express their disgust.
Animal Aid's Tod Bradbury says: "This is a completely unnecessary and cruel act that goes against government advice which states that killing foxes is an ineffective way of resolving urban fox conflicts.
"This is because once territories have been made vacant, new foxes quickly move in. As such, the government recommends the use of non-lethal deterrence instead. Trapping foxes causes them great stress; they will not sit quietly in the cage, they will pace frantically up and down and desperately try to escape.
"This will continue, until the ‘pest’ controller returns to shoot them in the head.
"We hope that Mr Coupe takes our concerns, and those of the public, on board and commits to adopting a policy of only using humane and non-lethal methods when conflicts arise with wildlife."
Locals have taken to social media to call for a boycott of the store.
Richard Bowler, a wildlife photographer, said: “The Sainsbury's store at Crayford have had a fox trapped and shot today. Please share and boycott.”
Donna Zimmer, a wildlife volunteer and member of Friends of Crayford Marshes, said: "I will not be shopping with Sainsbury's again as I am disgusted by the way this store opted to contact pest control to have this fox destroyed rather than contact the various wildlife charities such as the RSPCA or The Fox Project.
"They would have come out to check on the animal's health and would have dealt with this situation very differently."
Following the incident, Sainsbury’s issued a statement saying: "A number of foxes have tried to gain access to the store on several occasions.
"As a food retailer, this presents a health risk to both our colleagues and customers so we consulted pest control experts."