Natural Resources Wales has agreed to end pheasant shooting on Welsh public land during a key meeting this afternoon, in a landmark move which has been welcomed by leading wildlife-protection organisations. The announcement comes off the back of a three-year-long campaign by Animal Aid and the League Against Cruel Sports, which included over 12,500 people signing a petition to the government agency.

The pheasant shooting leases have been strongly opposed by the Welsh Government, which has included Welsh Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn AM writing to NRW over the Summer spelling out how the administration does not support rearing, releasing and shooting ‘game’ birds for ‘sport’ on public land. This position has strong public support, with 74% of the Welsh public disagreeing with shooting birds for ‘sport’ in a recent opinion poll.

Bethan Collins, Senior Public Affairs Officer (Wales) at League Against Cruel Sports, says:

“Natural Resources Wales is to be commended in the strongest terms for ensuring pheasant shooting in the Welsh national forest is being brought to an end. This outcome reflects strong opposition to the practice from the Welsh Government, 74% of the public who oppose shooting birds for sport and an urgent need to reverse damage to wildlife and the environment on the public estate.

“We thank those who have relentlessly pursued an end to pheasant shooting in the Welsh national forest, including Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn AM and the public who have backed us. This is as much a victory for them as it is for the wildlife which has now been spared the gun.”

Fiona Pereira, Campaigns Manager at Animal Aid, says:

“We are delighted that NRW has banned the cruel shooting of pheasants on public land. The campaign has shown that the vast majority of people strongly oppose the killing of animals for “sport” and want to see an end to it.

“NRW can now use that land for positive activities that are kind to animals and to the environment, and, importantly, set an example for other public bodies that also want to bring about an end to the shooting of birds.

We’d like to thank all the animal lovers who helped the campaign – and secured a victory for game birds.

Leasing of public land for pheasant shooting has become extremely controversial in recent years because of the considerable negative impact on wildlife and the environment. Large numbers of factory-farmed pheasants are released into government woodland to be gunned down by shooting parties for ‘sport’. Many birds are not killed instantly and hit the ground suffering from painful wounds and injuries, only to be killed by having their necks broken or being hit over the head with a beater’s stick.

Native predators – including foxes, stoats, weasels, crows and magpies – are also killed to preserve large numbers of ‘game’ birds for the guns. These practices, which form a standard part of managing woodland for pheasant shooting, result in an overall decrease in biodiversity. This includes through displacing threatened wild birds, upsetting the delicate ecology and threatening rare butterfly species.

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Notes for editors:

  • Natural Resources Wales presently leases three pieces of woodland for pheasant shooting: Bank Wood (Powys), Maesmawr Big Wood (Powys) and Cwmgwnen (Oswestry).
  • For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected]
  • The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).