Animal Aid

Pro-Bloodsports MP Gerry Sutcliffe Under Fire During National Anti-Shooting Week

Posted 17 September 2008

Date: 23 September 2008
Time: 14.00
Location: Town Hall Square (outside Bradford City Hall)

On the second day of National Anti-Shooting Week, Animal Aid’s new mascot – Phileas the Pheasant – will be visiting Bradford to draw attention to the government’s promotion of the cruel ‘sport’ of gamebird shooting. Annually, more than 40 million pheasants and partridges are intensively reared to be used as feathered targets, with hundreds of thousands of breeding birds confined inside metal battery cages.

Bradford has been chosen because Gerry Sutcliffe (MP for Bradford South) attended a reception staged by the pro-shoot lobby group, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) at the 2007 Labour Party Conference. According to BASC: ‘Gerry Sutcliffe MP, the Minister for Sport, pledged that the Labour Party would continue to support shooting and fishing which he said played an important part in the lives of 5 million people in the UK.

Other ministers who gave pro-shoot speeches at the 2007 Labour conference included Martin Salter – who is the government’s official parliamentary spokesperson for shooting and a BASC ‘Centenary Patron’; the Rural Affairs Minister, Jonathan Shaw; and Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker.

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.

Animal Aid’s new hard-hitting viral film has been launched to coincide with the start of National Anti-Shooting Week. Showing the brutality, wastefulness and greed of the gamebird industry, it has been sent to every MP, calling on them to press the government to change its policy over the shooting of live quarry.

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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