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Animal Aid Calls on Backbenchers to Scupper Governmentâ€™s Pro-Bloodsport Agenda
Posted 5 September 2008
On the first day of the partridge shooting season – 1 September – Animal Aid contacted every MP regarding the government’s promotion of ‘gamebird’ shooting, and asked them to demand an immediate reversal of policy. We also sent every MP a preview of a new viral film showing the shocking cruelty, wastefulness and greed of the gamebird industry. In the coming weeks, Animal Aid, and our network of supporters across the UK, will be staging the first National Anti-Shooting Week (22-28 September) to highlight the government’s pro-bloodsports agenda.
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.
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.
Animal Aid is convinced that, as the public becomes increasingly aware of the government’s intention to promote the killing of birds for sport, it could pay a heavy political price. Equally, MPs who speak out against ‘sport’ shooting will gain significant public support.
Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:
‘Most voters, as well as many MPs, are unaware that the government is applying an irrational double standard to bloodsports – banning hunting with dogs whilst cosying up to the pro-shoot lobby. Animal Aid is determined to expose this hypocrisy and press for a change in policy that will be viewed favourably by compassionate voters across the UK.’
- Around 42 million pheasants and partridges are purpose-bred to be shot every year. Hundreds of thousands of breeding birds are confined for their productive lives inside metal battery cages.
- A survey by the industry’s leading lobby group (the British Association for Shooting and Conservation) revealed that some 40% of shot birds are not shot cleanly, but are wounded and not retrieved.
- Of those who are retrieved, a significant percentage is not eaten. Shooting magazines have reported that some of these unwanted birds are buried in the ground.
- The release of thousands of gamebirds into the countryside puts pressure on other wildlife forced to compete for habitat and food.
- Tonnes of lead shot are discharged into the environment.
- Whilst shooting may benefit certain parts of the rural economy, Animal Aid has demonstrated 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.