Animal Aid

A law unto themselves - the game shooting industry under the spotlight (conclusion and references)

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Dead pheasants

The more rigorous stance now promised by HM Revenue and Customs points to the approach that all relevant government agencies need to adopt in their dealings with the shooting industry. Self-regulation based upon pseudo-scientific reports from organisations with a fanatical bloodsports bias is no basis for protecting either animal welfare or wildlife - or indeed the nation's finances. Having banned hunting with dogs on the grounds that it is unacceptably cruel, the only logical course is to move towards a similar ban on the equally barbaric bloodsport of 'driven' shooting. Indeed, when considering the number of birds purpose-bred to be shot as feathered targets, together with the related mass slaughter by gamekeepers of 'pest' and 'predator' wildlife, then the scale of animal suffering caused by shooting can be seen to represent an even greater offence than hunting with dogs.

There is already a precedent within the EU for a ban on the production of birds for 'sport shooting'. It was outlawed by the Dutch government in 2001. Animal Aid calls upon the UK government to follow the Netherlands' compassionate example.


  1. Legal quarry are listed in several sources and the list is not definitive.
  2. The Field magazine - January 2006
  3. Nature's Gain - How gamebird management has influenced wildlife conservation - Game Conservancy Trust 2005
  4. Animal Aid letter to Teresa Dent dated 24 June 2006.
  5. Killing for Sport - League Against Cruel Sports - October 2003.
  6. Snares are lengths of wire that are looped at one end to tighten around the body or neck of animals who stray into them, thereby causing terrible mutilating injuries and stress. The devices are supposed to be fixed in a permanent place, such as a tree root, so that gamekeepers can check them every 24 hours and put the trapped animals out of their misery - a requirement of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA).

    Dragpoles are snares attached to planks. They can result in ensnared animals dragging themselves off, unseen, into surrounding woods where they are likely to endure a wretched and protracted death. This is another potential offence under the WCA, which prohibits any action 'calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal'.

    A gamekeeper's objective in setting snares is to protect his estate's intensively-reared pheasant and partridge chicks or eggs from being eaten before they can be gunned down for pleasure. Target animals include foxes,stoats and weasels but huge numbers of non-target species are also caught, including cats, badgers and deer. In fact, the presence of so many mass-produced pheasants encourages higher numbers of predator species than would otherwise be the case.

  8. The Shooting Gazette - August 2006
  9. Charities Commission Guidance CC21
  10. Jaspar Copping - Daily Telegraph - 3 March 2006
  11. The Guardian - 27 March 2006
  12. Daily Telegraph - 12 August 2006
  13. Fred Pearce, New Scientist - 12 August 2006
  14. Report of Scientific Panel to DEFRA Conservation, Uplands and Rural Europe Division, Uplands Management Branch dated June 2005
  15. Severin Carrel, The Independent - 13 August 2006
  16. Independent on Sunday - 11 August 2006
  17. The Money Pits - League Against Cruel Sports - 18 January 2006
  18. The Spectator - 3 August 2006
  19. Valerie Elliot, The Times - 6 February 2006
  20. Killing for Sport, The League Against Cruel Sports - October 2003
  21. Killing for Sport, The League Against Cruel Sports - October 2003
  22. Jennifer Hill, Scottish Press Association - 25 August 2004
  23. Robert Bottomley, Manchester News - 27 January 2004
  24. Report, The Independent - June 2006
  25. Killing For Sport, The League Against Cruel Sports - 2003
  26. Report, The Independent - June 2006
  27. Daily Telegraph Report - July 28 2006
  28. Charlie Flindt, Sporting Gun - December 2006
  30. Killing for Sport, The League Against Cruel Sports - 2003
  31. Assault & Battery - 2005
  32. Shooting Times - 27 Sept 2001
  33. Shooting Times - 6 July 2006
  34. The Spectator - 3 August 2006
  35. Hansard - 22 July 2002
  36. Hansard - 15 June 2005
  37. Rob Evans and David Hencke, The Guardian - 23 March 2005 and other media reports
  38. HMRC letter dated April 2006 signed by Brian Spooner for HMRC
  39. Valerie Elliott, The Times - 11 July 2005

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