A new marketing board set up by the shooting industry has come under criticism from the League Against Cruel Sports, which has described it as a desperate measure which fails to tackle the animal cruelty being perpetrated on a massive scale. The British Game Alliance (BGA) was launched on Monday, May 21 and is described as a PR stunt by animal welfare campaigners.

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

"This is a desperate measure which isn’t going to deal with the fundamental problem within the shooting industry, which is animal cruelty on a massive scale. If you run a business and something is going wrong, you either choose to fix it, or you hire some PR people to say that you’ve fixed it. They are definitely doing the latter.

"The shooting industry are doing this because they know public tide is turning against them. An Ipsos Mori poll just a month ago showed that 74% of people in Wales are opposed to game bird shooting. In their statement a shooting spokesperson says that ‘the link between shooting and food is the foundation of shooting’s present and future’. They are saying that because there is no real link but they need one to validate themselves. Driven shooting is first and foremost a sport, and they are trying to shoehorn in a justification by saying that it is a form of farming. If you’re a pig farmer you wouldn’t get a group of people down from the city to kill your pigs with baseball bats, so why are these birds being killed by untrained people with guns?

"If the shooting industry is claiming to be a provider of food, then their animal welfare standards are deplorable. Thirty five million pheasants and partridges are released to be shot each year. They are factory farmed, so they are far from being organic or free range which people would think. Breeding partridges are kept in barren wire cages the size of A4 for their whole life. The conditions for all ‘game’ birds are often worse than for chickens. This leads to stress, injury, mutilation and death.

"They are released just before the shooting season, and many die on the roads. Then they are shot by people who have come for a good day out so the injury rate is going to be very high – potentially 40% according to an industry source - leading to immense suffering.

"On top of that, hundreds of thousands of other animals are snared, poisoned or shot to prevent them from killing the birds which will then be killed. The treatment of birds of prey by gamekeepers is a national disgrace, as is the use of wire snares which strangle anything that wanders into their path.

"The cost of the shooting industry to animal welfare is enormous, and can’t be offset by a marketing agency designed to atone for the sins of an industry which should have got its act together a long time ago.”

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

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).