Battle Bus tour reveals the dirty secret of the shooting industry

Posted on the 18th June 2015

The Animal Aid Battle Bus takes to the road this month to reveal what the shooting industry would rather keep hidden from the public.

We will be screening undercover footage, shot in May this year, which shows the appalling metal battery boxes that are used to confine partridges for breeding purposes by the shooting industry. The partridge boxes in our film are entirely barren, without any ‘enrichment’, and are therefore in breach of the official welfare Code. Although shot in Suffolk, Animal Aid understands that the cages are typical of those used by partridge breeders across the country.

At a huge, industrial pheasant producer, run by another company in Wales, Animal Aid’s film shows row upon row of caged birds in units that have token ‘enrichment’. Each unit holds eight to ten females and one male. The floors and roofs are made from mesh, and the single tree stump provided allows just one bird to perch on it at a time. There are no nest boxes, no foraging materials, and just a small ‘privacy’ area that amounts to a barren space behind a plastic ‘curtain’.

The offspring of these partridges and pheasants are destined to be shot for sport by wealthy shooters.

Animal Aid has sought official answers regarding how many farms across the country use the barren unenriched units that breach the government’s own Code of Practice – and what remedial action the department intends taking against offenders. We have received no satisfactory answer.

We also pursued the matter through the relevant enforcement and advisory bodies, but again drew a blank.

Whatever the legal status of the cages currently in use, Animal Aid is calling for all gamebird cages to be banned and is asking the public to lobby their MPs for this outcome. The first step of the campaign is to persuade as many MPs as possible to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM 402) calling for such a ban.

Says Campaign Manager, Fiona Pereira:

‘Over the years, Animal Aid has conducted detailed undercover investigations of game farms across the country. Despite our findings pointing to serious welfare breaches, the government seems determined to turn a blind eye. Animal Aid has highlighted the raised laying units, in which breeding birds are incarcerated, as being particularly abhorrent and we are determined to see an end to them.’

Animal Aid’s Battle Bus will call at the following destinations this month:

  • 8 December: Bury St Edmunds
  • 9 December: Leicester
  • 10 December: Warwick
  • 11 December: Taunton

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