John Lewis end staff game shoot

Posted on the 19th January 2001

This article is reprinted from the Daily Telegraph, Friday 19 January 2001.

The John Lewis Partnership has decided to stop the game shoot it has run for staff on its 3,800-acre Leckford estate in Hampshire amid allegations that it has given in to a campaign by animal rights activists.

Three gamekeepers are to be made redundant or offered alternative employment as a result of a decision by the 27 members of the Partnership’s 40-year old shooting club to cease rearing and shooting game.

The estate held up to 28 shoots a year with a quarter of the days let to other groups to help pay for the gamekeepers’ salaries. Seven of the 27 members of the shooting club are, or were, of general manager or senior status.

A John Lewis spokesman said last night: ‘As a result of a vigorous internal debate the members of the shoot have decided to give up the shoot rather than open up divisions among the other partners.’ The Partnership has a tradition of offering facilities for its 50,000 employees, all of whom are partners, to sail, play golf and attend music and theatrical events.

The Leckford estate was given to the business in 1946 by Spedan Lewis, the founder of the retail group, and a shooting club was formed in the Sixties. The shoot has been subject to an increasingly vociferous campaign by Animal Aid, a charity. It has organised pickets of John Lewis and Waitrose stores and the Leckford estate at the beginning of the present shooting season.

Animal Aid, whose patrons include Spike Milligan, made prominent mention of the Leckford estate in a report last September (The Killing Fields) which claimed that pheasant shoots injure 12 million birds a year. Since then there has been a largely anonymous debate about the rights and wrongs of shooting in the group’s magazine, The Gazette.

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