Welsh pheasant shooting season to begin despite Covid-19 crisis

The beginning of the shooting season takes place against a backdrop of an escalation of Covid-19 in Wales and Government advice to limit gatherings to stop the spread of disease.

The League Against Cruel Sports is launching a campaign to highlight the scale of pheasant shooting in Wales, the cruelty inherent in the keeping of pheasants in cages for breeding, and the use of snares by gamekeepers to indiscriminately kill wildlife.

Bethan Collins, senior public affairs officer, Wales said:

“The majority of the Welsh public are making great efforts to limit gatherings and if the shooting industry pushes ahead, this flies in the face of their sacrifices.

“Millions of non-native pheasants are factory farmed in Wales every year only to be shot down for ‘sport’ – many not being killed outright and dying long and lingering deaths.

“No other blood sport in Wales has such a devastating impact on animals and the environment.”

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.

Polling commissioned by the League Against Cruel Sports and undertaken by Survation shows that Welsh people would far prefer to enjoy nature and watch wildlife rather than kill it.

However, snares are still being used on game bird shoots to trap animals that could prey on pheasants, but these cruel and archaic wire traps can’t tell the difference between predators, protected species or even domestic pets – Britain is one of only five European countries where snares are still permitted.

Figures released by the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency after a freedom of information request by the League show that 100,000 birds are kept for breeding and shooting in Wales. Many of these birds will spend much of their breeding lives in cages. There are currently no minimum legal space requirements for caged pheasants and partridges as there are for those animals bred or kept for farming.

More polling commissioned by the League and undertaken by YouGov shows 82 per cent of people in Wales oppose the use of cages for breeding game birds.

The League has now set up a petition calling on the Welsh Government to ban the cage rearing of game birds.

Bethan added:

“Tens of thousands of ‘game’ birds are kept in cages for breeding which is cruel and causes animals to suffer.

“The Welsh Government has previously stated that it wanted Wales to become a cage-free nation. Let’s make this happen and end the cruelty pheasants and partridges experience.”


Notes to Editors

Full details and tables of the Survation polling available here:


The Survation polling took place in early December 2018 with a sample size of 1,072 people aged over 18 living in rural areas in England and Wales.

The YouGov polling figures can be viewed here:


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1006 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 9th April 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Welsh adults (aged 18+).

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