A leading animal welfare charity is urging the University of Reading to end pheasant shooting on its grounds.

In a letter sent to Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Van de Noort, the League Against Cruel Sports has sought a commitment from the university to end shooting at Hall Farm, Aborfield, when its game bird shooting lease expires in February.

The plea comes a fortnight ahead of the pheasant shooting season opening on Tuesday, 1 October – currently permitted on the university’s grounds under the present shooting lease.

Nick Weston, Head of Campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Large numbers of factory-farmed pheasants have been released on the University of Reading’s land purely to be shot for ‘sport’ when the shooting season opens in a fortnight.

“Students and alumni will be shocked to hear this is happening at their university and no doubt consternation will grow if the university doesn’t act quickly to end it.

“With more than 69 percent of the public opposing shooting birds for ‘sport’ there is clear support for the University of Reading to commit to ending shooting at Hall Farm.”

Leasing land for game bird shooting has become increasingly controversial because of the routine damage caused to wildlife and the environment.

The University of Wales stopped pheasant shooting on its countryside campus at Gregynog Hall, Powys, in February this year, setting a successful precedent for the University of Reading to follow.  

Pheasants and partridges, which are born on factory farms before being released, are often only wounded when shot out of the sky by gunmen rather than being killed instantly. Many of the birds hit the ground suffering from painful injuries, only to then have their necks broken or be clubbed over the head with a beater’s stick.

Native predators, including foxes, stoats, weasels and corvids, are also trapped and shot by gamekeepers to ensure a plentiful supply of game birds for shooting parties.

These practices upset the delicate ecology of the countryside and result in an overall decrease in biodiversity, when wildlife is driven out or forced to compete for food and habitat with large numbers of non-native game birds.



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Notes for editors

  • The University of Reading operates a five-year pheasant shooting lease running from 28 February 2015 – 29 February 2020 which allows the release and shooting of game birds within the grounds of Hall Farm, Aborfield, RG2 9HX.
  • For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24 hours) 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 league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).