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Animal Aid brings anti-cruelty message to Birmingham
Posted 16 September 2010
Date: 23 September 2010
Location: Birmingham Bullring, main entrance at Rotunda Square
Animal Aid’s giant mascot, Phileas the Pheasant, will be visiting Birmingham, ahead of the Conservative Party Conference the following week, to remind residents that the ‘game bird’ industry is not – as proponents describe it – dedicated to the harvesting of a natural resource, but involves the intensive production of 50 million pheasants and partridges every year so that they can be used as feathered targets.
For more than a decade, Animal Aid has been exposing the shooting industry – through detailed research, undercover investigations and public and political campaigning. It was largely as a result of the group’s long-standing opposition to metal battery cages for breeding pheasants that the contraptions were finally banned in the last days of the Labour government – only for the new Hunting and Shooting Minister and Conservative MP, Jim Paice, to overturn the prohibition.
Animal Aid representatives will be leafleting people around the city centre, informing them about the different aspects of the ‘game bird’ industry: the oppressive conditions in which birds are confined in game breeding establishments (one of which, Heart of England, is in the West Midlands and has been the subject of an Animal Aid investigation); the mass slaughter of indigenous mammals and birds aimed at protecting the industry’s profits; the destructive environmental consequences, including the annual dispersal of thousands of tons of toxic lead shot; and the widespread failure to pay business rates and VAT.
The public will be asked to sign a petition calling for a ban on the production of birds for ‘sport shooting’. Such a ban has been in place in Holland since 2002.
Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:
‘Many people still think that shooters kill a bird or two “for the pot”. Once they realise that pheasants and partridges are mass-produced on an industrial scale, to be shot at for pleasure, their reaction is typically one of disbelief and horror. And the fact that only a small percentage of the birds [see Notes] are eaten, puts paid to the pro-shooting argument that the game bird industry is about the production of food. It is actually about killing for pleasure, which is a truly warped and disturbing impulse. Animal Aid’s National Anti-Shooting Week aims to build public support for a total ban on the production of game birds to be shot for sport.’
Notes to Editors:
- For further information and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Kit Davidson on 01732 364546.
- Annually in Britain, around 50 million pheasants and partridges are purpose-bred. According to industry figures, ‘only’ around 18 million of this total are shot and retrieved. Of that 18 million, industry data further reveal that fewer than eight million are sold to game dealers. It is claimed that the remaining 10 million are handed over to shooters or taken by shoot operators. For more information and fact sources, see our booklet The Trouble with Shooting.
- For full background, see the shooting campaign index.