Animal Aid

Pro-Bloodsports MP Martin Salter Under Fire During National Anti-Shooting Week

Posted 24 September 2008

Date: 27 September 2008
Time: 12.00 Midday
Location: Oxford Road, Reading

On the final day of National Anti-Shooting Week, Animal Aid’s new mascot – Phileas the Pheasant – will be visiting Martin Salter's constituency to draw attention to the government’s promotion of the cruel ‘sport’ of gamebird shooting.

Martin Salter is the government’s official parliamentary spokesperson for shooting. In Labour's 2005 Charter for Shooting, he wrote: ‘ As a political party we want to go much further than merely promising not to restrict shooting. We want to actively encourage people to take up the sports and to develop policies under which they 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.

At Labour’s 2007 September annual Conference, Salter – who is also a Labour vice chair for the environment – hosted a reception for pro-shoot lobby group, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). And he was recently made a BASC ‘Centenary Patron’. Other ministers who gave pro-shoot speeches at the 2007 Labour conference included the Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe; Rural Affairs Minister, Jonathan Shaw; and Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker.

Animal Aid is staging National Anti-Shooting Week (22-28 September) to highlight the extreme cruelty involved in the breeding and shooting of ‘gamebirds’. 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.

A new hard-hitting viral film showing the brutality, wastefulness and greed of the gamebird industry has been sent to every MP by the national campaign group. They are calling on backbench MPs 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. Martin Salter is at the forefront of this policy and yet has dodged Animal Aid’s requests for a meeting so that he may explain why the mass production and killing of gamebirds for 'sport' receives this government’s blessing. 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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