New polling shows that an overwhelming majority of the Welsh public want both snares and the caged breeding of ‘game’ birds banned.

The polling, commissioned by leading animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports, was carried out by YouGov in January 2021.

It found 78 per cent of the Welsh public wanted snares – thin wire nooses used by gamekeepers to trap animals – to be made illegal and 72 per cent thought the use of cages to breed pheasants and partridges should be made illegal.

Support for the bans came from across the political spectrum. The polling showed a majority in favour from Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru voters.

Bethan Collins, senior public affairs officer for Wales, at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“This polling shows the Welsh public have had enough of the cruel practices associated with game bird shooting in Wales.

“We are calling on all the main political parties to back a ban on snares and the caged breeding of game birds and to include this in their manifestos for the forthcoming Senedd elections.”

Millions of pheasants and partridges are estimated to be bred every year in Wales to be shot for ‘sport’.

To breed them, tens of thousands of game birds are confined to small, cramped cages for much of their breeding lives. A petition signed by over 5,000 people calling on the Welsh Government to ban this cruel practice is being considered for debate at the Senedd.

The Welsh environment minister Lesley Griffiths has previously gone on record to state that Wales should be a free-range nation. Game birds do not currently receive the same basic legal protection that poultry enjoys with regards to cages and farming standards.

Wales is home to Bettws Hall, Europe’s biggest game bird hatchery which according to its website produces 800,000 game bird eggs a week. A League Freedom of Information request to the Animal and Plant Welfare Health Agency indicated that Bettws Hall was keeping 90,000 breeding pheasants and partridges.

There are up to 50,000 snares laid at any one time in Wales according to UK Government research on the issue.

The shooting industry is coming under pressure in recent years. In 2019 pheasant shooting was banned on public land by the Welsh Government. In the same year the University of Wales also stopped shooting on its land.

Bethan Collins, added:

“The indiscriminate nature of snares and the suffering they cause to animals is horrendous.

“The breeding of game birds in small, cramped cages flies in the face of shooting industry claims that game birds live a free-range existence.

“Wales has an opportunity to lead the way in the UK by introducing laws that eliminate rather than regulate animal cruelty.”

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,085 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 19th January 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Wales (aged 18+).

I enclose a link to the full polling results here.

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).