Eurotunnel stonewalls customers over game birds shipped for shooting

Eurotunnel has ignored more than 2,500 people who are calling for the firm to stop shipping ‘game’ birds for shooting.

The company’s silence when faced with customer pressure and corporate lobbying by the League Against Cruel Sports and Hunt Saboteurs Association speaks volumes.

More than 20 million pheasants and partridges are expected to be brought across the channel this spring and summer, either as day-old chicks or ‘ready-to-hatch’ eggs, from French factory farms destined for British shooting estates.

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

"Day-old pheasant and partridge chicks are being shipped like cargo onboard Eurotunnel’s passenger trains – just meters away from unsuspecting customers. Those birds that don’t die during transportation will be shot for entertainment unless Eurotunnel does the right thing by banning their transportation.

"Eurotunnel has responded with silence – in some cases even slamming the phone down on compassionate customers seeking an explanation, showing the company knows transporting birds to be killed for entertainment cannot be defended."

The cross-channel trade in game birds has been hit hard by campaigning pressure, with leading ferry companies adopting embargoes.

P&O Ferries, DFDS Seaways and Brittany Ferries stopped transporting game birds from the continent following an undercover investigation by the League in 2015.

An investigation by the HSA into two major French game bird breeders supplying UK shoots – L’Envol de Retz and Gibovendee – found birds incarcerated in bleak wire-mesh cages. The pheasants exhibited abnormal behaviours induced by the extreme stress of captivity, including tearing out their own and other birds’ feathers, fighting with ‘cage mates’ and repetitive jumping at cage walls. Some birds were discovered wounded or dead.

Lee Moon, Spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said:

"Since the HSA exposed the fact that millions of pheasant and partridge chicks and hatching eggs are being transported by Eurotunnel to be shot in the UK, Eurotunnel has been deadly silent about the lifeline that they are granting this horrendous industry.

"Our exposé showed the grim reality of these French farms where gamebirds are confined to barren wire cages already made illegal for chickens. Half of the UK’s pheasants and partridges come from these French factory farms and so stopping these imports will have a huge effect on the industry. Please join us in calling for Eurotunnel to cease transporting gamebird chicks and eggs."

The League and Hunt Saboteurs Association have vowed to continue their campaign until Eurotunnel makes a commitment to stop transporting game birds for shooting.

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  • 35 – 45 million game birds are released into the British countryside each year to be shot for ‘sport’. 50% of all pheasants and 90% of all partridges are imported from factory-farms in France, Portugal, Spain and Poland.

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