Millions of birds bred for shooting
It is estimated that an incredible 27 million pheasants are bred for shooting each year in the UK. Any animal lover would find this situation disturbing but a new report from Savills suggests that more than half of the birds die in vain as they are never eaten.
Many of the birds are gunned down only to be thrown in an incinerator or fly-tipped. Just 48% are taken by game dealers.
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, has 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."
Prices for game birds falling
Prices for game birds have fallen dramatically in recent years, perhaps because of the sheer number of birds being shot. Most consumers do not buy pheasants for cooking and so some shooters have found themselves having to pay to get the dealers to take the birds away.
Pressure building on the shooting community
There is pressure building on the shooting community. Public opinion is firmly against shooting for sport and pheasant shooting has now been banned on public land in Wales. A recent opinion poll showed that 69% of people believe that game bird shooting should be illegal.
There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that most of the birds bred for sport endure miserable lives before they are released to be shot. To make matters worse, many other animals are trapped, snared and killed to protect the game birds in the build-up to the shooting season.
Damning video evidence
Video evidence has emerged that gamekeepers have been catching wild birds in traps and leaving them in distress for up to two days. All this just to help their shoots. The footage showed that a crow was confined to a cruel cage and left without water on a hot summer’s day. The bird was in a trap which was set to capture wild birds which prey on the birds reared for the shooting season.
Larsen traps, which are available online, usually contain one bird in a compartment. Their distressed cries attract other birds into a separate compartment. The birds are then killed by the gamekeeper to reduce their numbers and protect pheasants. By law the traps should be checked every day, but the video showed that they are not.
Game shooting leads to millions of birds being killed for sport and more are killed to protect the doomed birds until the shooting season begins. The traps are all over the countryside visiting hell on the birds which are captured by them.
What price a few pheasants?
Shooters can pay up to £1,000 to kill up to 400 birds per day. Shooting is a lucrative sport which yields impressive incomes for landowners. However, this windfall comes at the expense of millions of birds which endure miserable lives before being shot for no reason at all other than a bit of fun.