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EASY TARGETS - Breeding for the shoot
Posted 1 October 2003
Animal Aid has long campaigned against game shooting and it is both encouraging, and disturbing, that the shooting industry itself is now echoing our concerns. The UK's largest fields sports organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, has sent out alarm signals (reported October 12, Sunday Telegraph) about the massive number of birds being killed and the damage to woodland caused by breeders flooding the countryside with birds.
More than twice the number of pheasants are being bred than 20 years ago. Shot for pleasure, not the pot - hundreds may be shovelled into pits at the end of a day's killing. Before being released as living targets the chicks are mass-produced inside hatcheries. Even before they are blasted from the skies, they are subjected to painful mutilations and restraints such as beak-trimming to curtail aggression caused by overcrowding. Once released, many are so weak they die of starvation, disease or exposure. The manager of a major Wiltshire estate told the Daily Telegraph it was "...just chicken farming - breeding for the shoot by providing easy targets. It is nothing to do with the traditional countryside."
A typical day's shooting will slaughter around 500 birds, sometimes hundreds more. Animal Aid has produced a pack of humorous playing cards which illustrates the grotesque excesses of game shooting. To purchase a pack, or for more information on the bloodsports campaign, call Animal Aid on 01732 364546 or go to www.animalaid.org.uk.
Campaigns Officer, Animal Aid