It’s official: pheasant shooting ends on Welsh public land

A ban on shooting pheasants on public land in Wales comes into effect today thanks to a landmark decision by the largest Welsh Government body.

Natural Resources Wales pioneering decision to no longer permit game bird shooting in the Welsh national forest, comes into effect after controversial shooting agreements expired at midnight.

The decision comes off the back of a three-year long campaign by the League Against Cruel Sports and Animal Aid, which won the support of a government minister and civil servants in September. Two-thirds of rural people in Wales said they do not believe game bird shooting reflects countryside values in a poll carried out in December.

Chris Luffingham, Director of Campaigns at the 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 has now been brought to an end. This outcome reflects strong opposition 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.”

The University of Wales is now being urged to follow Natural Resources Wales by banning pheasant shooting on its Gregynog Hall site in Powys. Over 11,000 supporters of the League have contacted Vice Chancellor, Medwin Hughes, to back a ban ahead of the university’s shooting lease which expired yesterday, 28th February.

Chris Luffingham added:

“Pheasants are being factory-farmed on an industrial scale, before being released by their tens of thousands into the university’s grounds to be used as feathered targets. Any native wild animals which interfere with the commercial shooting operation are destroyed by gamekeepers.

“The University of Wales has an opportunity and a responsibility to end blood sports on its land by not renewing its pheasant shooting lease. With over 11,000 people contacting the university to demand this outcome, we request the university makes its decision clear now the deed has expired.”

Leasing of land for pheasant shooting is extremely controversial because of the considerable negative impact on wildlife and the environment. Many birds are not killed instantly and hit the ground suffering from painful wounds and injuries, only to have their necks broken or to be hit over the head with a beater’s stick.

The League says its campaign will continue until the University of Wales gives a commitment to end pheasant shooting on its land.

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Notes for editors:

  • Natural Resources Wales has up until today leased four pieces of woodland for pheasant shooting: Bank Wood (Powys), Maesmawr Big Wood (Powys), Llanfair Wood (Powys) and Cwmgwnen (Oswestry).

  • The polling took place in early December 2018 with a sample size of 285 people aged over 18 living in rural areas in Wales, as part of a wider survey of England and Wales. Full details and tables available here:

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