Birds reared to be slaughtered “just for fun”

Croppheasant shooting

Only around half of the millions of birds shot during the new shooting season will never make it to a game dealer

Graham Martin's photo

28th September 2018 by Graham Martin 2 Comments

The majority of pheasants reared for shooting are killed “just for fun”, new research shows.

Only around half of the millions of birds shot during the new shooting season will never make it to a game dealer.

According to the Savills Shoot Benchmarking Survey 2017/18, on average only 48% of the birds shot will be taken by dealers.

At least 27 million birds – and possibly many times more - are bred to be killed during the pheasant shooting season, which starts on Monday, 1 October.

This means millions are killed for no other reason other than the shooters’ pleasure.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Shooting estates are churning out millions of factory-farmed pheasants and partridges into the British countryside, only for the birds to be gunned down and thrown in the incinerator, buried or fly-tipped by the roadside.

“Even if you’re happy to have pheasant for dinner, there can be no justification for this massive waste of life – just for fun, all in the name of sport..”

The report also points out that prices received for game birds have fallen by 50–60% over the last six years, and fell 35–38% between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.

It states “The market situation also meant not all shoots were able to sell their shot game, last season 46% were supplying their game dealer free of charge and 12% were paying the game dealer to collect them. There was some variation but typically payments were 20–30p per bird.”

The shooting industry has set up the British Game Alliance, in an attempt to get more people to eat game meat.

But Countryside Alliance polling showed that 85% of people had never bought pheasant or partridge to eat at home – in spite of the meat being regularly available.

Meanwhile, polling during the summer by the League Against Cruel Sports and Animal Aid showed that nearly seven out of ten people (69%) in Great Britain want game bird shooting made illegal.

Luffingham added:  “You can’t shoot million and millions of pheasants then claim it’s one for the pot, when it’s blindingly obvious that most people in this country don’t put pheasant in their pot.

“The shooting industry is out of control. It’s purely about money – breed as many targets as they can then let the punters blast them to bits. Any claim that this industry cares about the birds it raises is patently nonsense.”

29th September 2018 by Steve Macsweeney

As if that is not bloody enough. In order to maintain the highest number of birds to be shot for fun, gamekeepers poison, snare, trap and shoot our native wildlife in biblical numbers, each day every day. No wonder we have almost no Hen Harriers and similar birds of prey. No wonder we never see Stoats and Weasels.Corvids and foxes are demonized to justify ritual slaughter. We are 300 years behind the rest of the civilised world.This is a shitty grubby cruel practice which embarrasses decent people.

2nd October 2018 by Lok Yue

Steve Macsweeney and i must be on different planets. In the area i walk my dogs daily I see plenty of stoats and evidence of large numbers of foxes and badgers (sadly some in the form of roadkill). Birds of prey and members of the crow family are around in large numbers. This is mainly arable farmland and shot over regularly. Coveys of partridges enjoy the hedgerows, laboriously replanted and nurtured, which also provide habitat for small mammals. which 'civilised' parts of the world are we '300 years, behind?" Spain? France? Germany? Eastern europe? USA? Hardly: all these countries have thriving field sports industries. And that is part of the point: rightly or wrongly, people pay a lot of money to retain and maintain shooting habitat. No game, no habitat. Perhaps the decent people might also be embarrassed by eating factory farmed animals which never see the light of day before being rendered into cheap supermarket meat or transported hundreds of miles in vile conditions before being 'ritually slaughtered.'