The start of the pheasant shooting season begins on October 1 condemning millions of ‘game’ birds to being blasted out of sky for ‘sport’ over the next four months.

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.”

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]

Full details and tables of the Survation polling available here:

https://www.survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/LACS-Shooting-Tables.xlsx

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:

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/1qaemiv24u/YG-Archive-230418-League%20AgainstCruelSports.pdf

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+).

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)