Animal campaign group slams shooting lobby’s call for increased game bird production in the face of bird flu

Posted on the 21st February 2006

Around 50 per cent of the 35 million pheasants reared on Britain's shooting estates originate from intensive farms in France. With the arrival of Bird Flu in France, pro-shooting lobby group the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) fears that the government will ban French imports of game bird eggs and one-day-old chicks, which would spoil 50 per cent of next winter's exclusive wealthy pheasant shooting.

The BASC, in anticipation of a ban, is calling for Britain’s 300 game farms to step up production of pheasant poults to compensate for the shortfall. This selfish and irresponsible call comes without regard for the impending arrival of Bird Flu in Britain. An increase in production would flood the countryside with even more pheasants and partridges at a time when measures are being put in place to limit the spread of bird flu should it arrive on our shores.

Game birds cannot be reared inside because they are hardened off outdoors to be released for sport shooting.

Animal Aid wants to prevent a later unnecessary cull of helpless pheasant and partridge chicks. It urges the government to ban the breeding of British game birds which will start in the next few weeks. It calls upon the BASC to put aside the promotion of a trivial sport in the face of the increased contagion risk for British poultry and the feared mutation of the HN51 virus.

Notes to Editors

  • For full background, see the Pheasant Shooting Index
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