Pro-bloodsports government policy exposed in National Anti-Shooting Week

Posted on the 10th September 2008

Animal Aid is staging its first National Anti-Shooting Week (22-28 September) to highlight the extreme cruelty involved in the breeding and shooting of ‘gamebirds’. Our new mascot – Phileas the Pheasant – will be visiting the constituencies of pro-shooting MPs to draw attention to the government’s promotion of gamebird shooting.

Labour’s 2005 Charter for Shooting, stated that the party wanted to ‘actively encourage’ people to take up shooting and to initiate policies under which it can ‘develop and prosper’.

More recent statements by key government and party figures confirm that promoting the killing of birds for sport is indeed now government policy.

During the week of action, supporters of Animal Aid will be taking to the streets with information stalls and leafleting events across the UK. And the national campaign group will be calling on backbench MPs to press the government to change its policy over the shooting of live quarry.

Annually, more than 40 million pheasants and partridges are purpose-bred to be used as feathered targets, with hundreds of thousands of breeding birds confined inside metal battery cages.

The pro-shooting lobby attempts to justify its practices on environmental and economic grounds. It argues that certain types of wildlife fare well under the management of gamekeepers, and that shoots bring money to rural communities. But only wildlife that does not pose a perceived threat to gamebird production is allowed to flourish. Millions of other animals are destroyed because they are regarded as ‘pests’ or ‘predators’. That’s aside from the tonnes of lead shot that shooters discharge into the countryside every year. Furthermore, evidence gathered by Animal Aid and handed over to the relevant authorities shows the industry’s consistent failure to pay business rates and VAT – the latter amounts to a shortfall estimated by HMRC to be between £12m and £20m.

Animal Aid has created a new hard-hitting viral film showing the brutality, wastefulness and greed of the gamebird industry. It has been sent to every MP.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

‘The government is applying an irrational double standard to bloodsports – banning hunting with dogs whilst cosying up to the pro-shoot lobby. Animal Aid’s National Anti-Shooting Week will expose this hypocrisy to people across the country. We have also alerted every Labour backbench MP to the fact that, with Cameron’s Tories on the ascendant, this issue places Labour parliamentary seats at serious risk.’

Notes to Editor:

  • For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546.
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.
  • Images are available on request.
  • Watch the film

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