Animal Aid

Animal Aid’s National Anti-Shooting Week Tour Comes to Leamington Spa

Posted 17 September 2009

Date: 24 September 2009
Time: 1pm
Location: Leamington Spa, The Parade (near H&M).

Animal Aid is visiting Leamington Spa as part of its National Anti-Shooting Week Tour, to gain support for a ban on the production of birds for ‘sport’ shooting. Leamington Spa has been chosen because of its proximity to the huge ‘gamebird’ breeding unit, Heart of England Farm in Claverdon.

Animal Aid’s exposé of battery cage systems for pheasants and partridges started in 2005 with an undercover investigation into industrial-sized breeding and rearing operations. Under this system, scores of thousands of breeding pheasants and partridges are confined for the whole of their productive lives in the metal cages. Our film has demonstrated that stressed birds suffer a high incidence of emaciation, feather loss and back and head wounds as they repeatedly lunge at their cage roofs in a desperate attempt to escape. Typically, one male pheasant is confined with eight to ten females, whilst partridges are held in pairs.

Heart of England breeds almost 1 million birds a year. In 1995, Animal Aid filmed cage after cage of thin, ravaged birds engaged in stereotypical (pointless, repetitive) pacing at the farm. Heart of England also featured in the BBC’s Inside Out television programme about the gamebird breeding industry, on 7 November 2007. It has been a constant source of upset to its neighbours, who have campaigned vigorously about the odours, bright lights, fly infestations and noise associated with the farm.

Animal Aid representatives will be talking to the residents of Leamington Spa about the conditions in which birds are confined at Heart of England and other game breeding establishments. We will also be asking people to contact their local MP, in order to build further support for an Early Day Motion (tabled by David Taylor MP) calling for a ban on the production of birds for shooting. Already, 57 MPs have signed the parliamentary motion.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

‘Many people still think that shooters kill a bird or two “for the pot”. Once they realise that pheasants and partridges are mass-produced on an industrial scale, to be shot at for pleasure, their reaction is typically one of disbelief and horror. We already have the backing of more than 50 MPs for David Taylor’s parliamentary motion, which calls for a ban on the production of birds for so-called sport shooting. We aim to increase this support during Animal Aid’s National Anti-Shooting Week.’

Notes to Editors:

  • For further information and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Kit Davidson on 01732 364546. Out of hours: 07918 083 774.
  • Annually in Britain, more than 45 million pheasants and partridges are purpose-bred to be used as feathered targets. According to the industry itself, a mere 8 million are sold to game dealers. Even pro-shooting articles have made reference to birds being buried in specially-dug pits because there is so little demand for their meat.
  • Millions more animals – such as stoats, foxes and crows – are killed by gamekeepers as they are seen to pose a threat to the gamebirds.
  • For background, please visit the shooting campaign index page.

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