University of Wales urged to end pheasant shooting on countryside campus by animal welfare charity

A university which allows pheasant shooting on its grounds is being urged to stop the practice by a leading animal welfare charity.

Coinciding with Natural Resources Wales announcing an end to pheasant shooting on its land, the League Against Cruel Sports is calling on the University of Wales to stop allowing shooting on its countryside campus at Gregynog Hall, Powys. Twenty-five pheasant shoots are held on the university’s grounds each year with a significant negative impact on wildlife and the environment.

Andy Knott MBE, CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports and University of Wales alumni, has written to the Vice Chancellor, Medwin Hughes, ahead of the opening of the pheasant shooting season on October 1st. He said:

“The University of Wales is blessed with a beautiful campus and fantastic students. It’s a real shame that they are continuing to associate themselves with birds being blasted out of the sky for fun, which most people want to see stopped. Universities should be forward-thinking, not dragged backwards by cruel traditions. I really hope the Vice Chancellor listens to our request with an open mind.”

The university’s present lease with controversial game bird shooting organisation Bettws Hall, is set to expire in February 2019. The League is asking for it not to be renewed.

In its letter, the League cites how tens of thousands of non-indigenous pheasants are factory farmed and released into the grounds of Gregynog Hall to be killed by shooting parties. Native predators, including foxes, stoats, weasels, crows and magpies, are trapped and shot to preserve large numbers of game birds for the guns. These practices result in an overall decrease in biodiversity, including through displacing wild birds, upsetting the delicate ecology and threatening rare butterfly species.

Andy Knott added:

“The release of large numbers of non-indigenous pheasants, which have been factory farmed for the gun, inflicts clear damage on wildlife and the environment at the University of Wales’ Gregynog Hall. Not only does this invasion of ‘game’ birds displace native wild birds and upset the delicate ecology, but further introduces disease and threatens rare butterfly species. Natural predators including foxes, stoats and weasels – drawn in by the potential prey – are subsequently trapped and shot.

“On shoot days themselves many birds are not killed outright by the shot so 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.”

“The University of Wales must commit to not renewing its pheasant shooting leases for Gregynog Hall in light of the considerable damage caused to wildlife and the environment. Only then will the campus grounds truly become the nature reserve they are claimed to be.”

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