The John Lewis shooting club

Posted on the 20th July 2006

For five months every year, the 25-strong department store group invites its staff to indulge in the perverse 'pleasure' of blasting pheasants from the sky. Around 200 birds are bagged daily at the firm's 3000-acre Hampshire estate.

It’s part of an industry that annually in Britain:

  • subjects millions of artificially-hatched birds to the rigours of intensive farming
  • traps, shoots and poisons around five million mammals and prey birds who are drawn to such unnaturally high numbers of pheasants
  • dumps 75,000 metric tonnes of lead shot on the countryside.

Roughly 36 million pheasants are shot and retrieved annually. Birds who are not killed cleanly have their necks broken or are clubbed over the head. Another 12 million suffer crippling blast injuries and are never recovered. Shooters dress up their sick enterprise as ‘conservation’. But the truth is found in the industry’s name for their quarry – game birds.

It’s all a game to those who factory farm the pheasants – cutting off the ends of their beaks or fixing them with clips (as do John Lewis), in an attempt to limit the bird-on-bird aggression caused by the crowded conditions. It’s all a game to those who slaughter British wildlife to protect their ‘sport’. John Lewis admit to killing foxes, rabbits, stoats and weasels. But it’s no game for the animal victims, for whom the ‘sport’ means suffering and death.

Opposition to John Lewis’ involvement in bloodsports was launched in 1996 by the National Anti Hunt Campaign. Now Animal Aid adds its voice.


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