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Pheasant shooting campaign named 'Campaign of the Week'
Posted 1 August 2005
A mark of the effectiveness of our work highlighting gamebird production and shooting is that our latest intitiative has received the accolade of The Guardian's CAMPAIGN OF THE WEEK. Read the article (from 11/10/05) in full:
However you may feel about the idea of breeding birds to be small flying targets for the pheasant shooting season, which started last week, you will probably have assumed that much of the pheasant's short life is, at least, spent reasonably pleasantly in a wood somewhere, dodging Roald Dahl characters, falling out of hedges, or just eating and sleeping and eating some more.
In fact, Animal Aid's Assault and Battery campaign states that of the estimated 13 million birds shot every year, almost all are bred from birds that spend their entire lives in metal cages with about one third of a square metre per bird. This is a very small fraction of the space recommended by the main shooters group, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (is that an oxymoron?).
Secret footage obtained by Animal Aid has shown that some of the birds show raw abrasions on their heads, caused by continually leaping upwards and beating their heads against the net roofs in attempts to escape. The illness and physical deterioration that is commonly associated with this type of breeding has already been linked to an outbreak of the Newcastle Disease in Surrey, a highly contagious virus, which led to the destruction of 9,000 birds.
The banning of battery farming by the European Union has left the pheasant behind, because neither pheasants nor partridges are classified as poultry. No one wants to work out exactly how many of these birds get eaten, but Animal Aid estimates that far fewer than half of the birds bred will make it onto someone's plate.
Read Assault & Battery - our report on factory-farmed gamebirds.