Animal Aid

POT SHOT - A threat to human health

Posted 1 September 2002

The Observer Food Magazine has published more evidence to show that the pheasant shooting and rearing industry poses a threat to human health as well as being devastating for the birds themselves. The article below, by Caroline Boucher, is reproduced from the September issue.

The Observer Food Monthly articleAs the pheasant shooting season starts again next month a significant victory has been gained for the various groups who have been campaigning for a ban on the drug, Emtryl.

The active ingredient in Emtryl is antiprotozoal Demetridazole (DMZ). Used to cure various diseases often rampant in the overcrowded pheasant-rearing sheds, this has been banned since 1996 in all other EU states because no safe level can be set for human consumption. Now the manufacturer has temporarily suspended production and gamekeepers have been requested not to hoard stocks and to find other methods of disease elimination.

A 'safe period' of 28 days is supposed to elapse between birds last ingesting DMZ and reaching the table. But as last year only 2,568 of the 36 million pheasants bred and released in the UK were tested, and given that once the birds are released from the pens there is no way of tracking them, there have been grounds for concern.

There are sufficient supplies for the current season. I have been increasingly worried about what I formerly thought was a healthy meat since this was brought to my attention last season, so check with your supplier before buying a brace.


  • For more information about pheasant shooting, including in-depth reports and undercover video footage, see our Pheasant index.
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