Dead pheasants dumped in Cheshire

No surprise, another week and another report of dumped gamebirds.

It’s Cheshire this time, to add to the reports of shot birds dumped in the Scottish borders (here), Norfolk (here), Perthshire (here), Berkshire (here), North York Moors National Park (here) and some more (here), Co. Derry (here), West Yorkshire (here), N Wales (here), mid-Wales (here), Leicestershire (here) and Lincolnshire (here).

[Photo by Finn Wilde]

It seems to be a widespread problem, doesn’t it? That’s hardly a surprise when the game shooting industry is permitted to release as many non-native pheasants and red-legged partidge as it likes (estimated to be at least 50 million EVERY YEAR), with minimal regulation, and no requirement to report on what happens to those birds once they’ve been shot for a bit of a laugh.

And let’s not forget this is the same game shooting industry that is responsible for the vast majority of illegal raptor persecution, done, it says, to protect gamebirds. That’ll be the gamebirds that are shot and then dumped, with no respect for the quarry and no respect for the local residents who’ll have to foot the bill to have the caracasses removed.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph in November 2005 headed ‘Game birds for eating not dumping’, Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance said this:

Every bird shot in Britain goes into the food chain, whether into participants’ freezers, or through game dealers into an increasing number of supermarkets, butchers, pubs and restaurants“.


Here are some more photos showing the location of the dumped pheasants in Cheshire (photos by Findlay Wilde) and Finn has written a blog about the discovery of these sacks of dead birds on his patch, here. Well worth a read – he says the bags were originally wrapped in carpet, presumably to hide the bags’ contents.


17 thoughts on “Dead pheasants dumped in Cheshire”

  1. Dumping them in plastic bags and then hiding those bags in old carpet is hardly entering them into the food chain, it’s high time that the hunting and shooting lobby were government regulated and heavily so – as it seems they won’t regulate themselves.

    1. This practice also happens in Somerset. I found a festering pile a few years ago in a drove close to a major nature reserve and not far from an adjacent shoot. It’s way past time for the shooting community to put its house in order and start cleaning up its act!

      1. We were in Somerset once when the young birds had been released. There were so many of them wandering about on the roads looking dazed and confused that it was difficult not to run them over…indeed we saw dozens that had been. This was a distressing and sickening sight…..

    2. Seems that quite often they get dumped with general rubbish too, which most certainly won’t even rot away. This is fly tipping pure and simple.

  2. Given that most game shoots are on fair sized tracts of land, well suited to digging holes and burying these birds, I think we can safely assume like raptor persecution, that this is the tip of a much larger iceberg. In addition, many of these shoots are on land without public access, so stinkpits full of dead gamebirds will go unnoticed.

    A large proportion of modern shooters are well off City types who’ve taken up shooting to enhance their image. Whilst playing the country squire on these shoots, they probably make a big show of taking them home to eat, and then dump them by the road on the way home. As I say, I think most birds left behind on shoots would get buried on these estates and not dumped by the roadside.

    1. That would still be an offence.

      Game birds shot for food are regulated under the Animal By-Products Regulations and must be disposed of in specified ways (according to the category of waste they come under) by authorised waste carriers in authorised waste disposal facilities.

      Game birds not shot for food (eg simply shot for the sheer disgusting pleasure of the activity) do not come under the ABPR but must be disposed of in a safe manner that does not harm people or put the environment at risk and in line with the EU Waste Framework Directive 2008 and Waste Regulations 2018.

      The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) (Part II, S33) prohibits unauthorised disposal of material.
      It is an offence to harmfully deposit or dispose of waste on or in land without an environmental permit or in contravention of the terms of a permit. Obviously dumping carcasses in a pit or on the side of a road would not be an activity (I believe) that the Environment Agency or SEPA would grant a permit for.

      Under S33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) it is an offence to deposit industrial or commercial waste or knowingly cause or knowingly permit such waste to be deposited in or on any land unless a waste management licence authorising the deposit is in force and the deposit is in accordance with the permit. The deliberate dumping of carcasses in bags in this way or the use of wild animal carcasses as bait in stink pits without an environmental permit would constitute the offence.

      S33(1)(c) EPA bans the treatment, keeping or management of industrial or commercial waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. (Under S29(3)) ‘Pollution of the environment’ means pollution of the environment due to the release or escape (into land, air or water) from the land on which industrial or commercial waste is (a) treated, (b) kept or (c) deposited of substances or articles constituting or resulting from the waste and capable (by reason of the quantity or concentrations involved) of causing harm to man or any other living organisms supported by the environment.” (According to S29(5)) ” “harm” means harm to the health of living organisms (plants, animals, even single celled life forms) or other interference with the ecological systems of which they form a part. In the case of man this includes offence to any of his senses or harm to his property. “Harmless” has a corresponding meaning. Under S29(11)) “Substance” means any natural or artificial substance, whether in solid or liquid form or in the form of a gas or vapour. Clearly decaying animal carcasses have the potential to cause harm to other living organisms supported by the environment or to interfere with their associated ecological systems. The permanent dumping of the bodies of healthy wild animals or dead game birds in a way that allows potentially harmful liquids and air borne bacteria from putrifying carcasses to escape into the surrounding environment breaches the terms of S33(1)(c) EPA.

      1. Sorry – correction. Birds shot for food and then a decision is made not to use/sell them for food are regulated under the ABPR.

        The NGO’s legal bloke explained it nicely (according to his interpretation of the law). In its Spring 2014 edition of Keeping the Balance, Matthew Knight of Knight Solicitors, suggests that only dead wild animals which are exempt from the Animal By-Products Regulations should be used in stink pits as they are not Subject to the ABPR. This includes rats, rabbits, crows and foxes resulting from predator and pest control activities. It may also include “wild game species, grouse, pheasants, partridges, rabbits and deer, where these are not intended for the human food chain and are wild at the point of kill arising from culling and shooting sports.” According to Mr Knight, “Defra and the EU have … tended to view gamebirds that have been released into the wild as wild and thus outside the scope of the Order (sic – Animal By-Product Regulations) but the position is uncertain.”

  3. Anecdotally, a family member has told me that the same thing happens on the Blenheim estate but the stink pit is in a remote part of their own land away from the public gaze.

  4. This so called game bird shooting industry is so out of Control.What an Absolute SHAM.Any other industry would be Pillaried from post to post for this Carnage ! It’s unregulated right across the spectrum ,the number of pheasant s ,red legged partridge brought in from Abroad, reared and released then shot for a bit of Fun ,then discarded or dumped in Massive piles of stinkpits to draw in more Predators which are then shot ,trapped ,snared the Endless circle just goes on and on .All the time these rich and powerful shooting estates just carry on getting away with this Mass Slaughter . And they say there isn’t a class system .yes right !

  5. ” no requirement to report on what happens to those birds once they’ve been shot for a bit of a laugh.”. Not quite accurate.

    Businesses in the UK have a mandatory duty to keep records for two years to demonstrate that they have disposed of their waste legally.

    Part II, S34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) imposes a duty on individuals who produce, keep or dispose of waste to take reasonable measures to ensure that their waste is:

    Stored and transported appropriately and securely so it doesn’t escape;
    Transported and handled by people and businesses that are authorised to do so.

    S34(1) EPA imposes the duty on individuals who produce, carry, keep or dispose of commercial or industrial waste or who have control of such waste to take reasonable measures

    (a) to prevent any contravention by any other person of section 33 (unauthorised disposal on land or disposal on land without a waste permit) and
    (b) to prevent the escape of the waste from his control or that of any other person.

    Granting permission, without a permit, for the keeping or abandonment of wild animal carcasses or game carcasses in the open environment with no secure containment of the bodies from any carnivorous or omnivorous birds or animals (including rodents) or the potentially harmful fluids or air-borne bacteria is not a safe and secure way to prevent the dispersal of bodies and breaches S33 and 34 EPA.

    In addition, S34 requires that businesses:
    Take reasonable measures, on the transfer of the waste, to ensure that a written description of the waste is transferred with the waste in order to help other people avoid breaching any duty of care under S34 or S33 of the EPA.

    The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (EPR) impose a similar duty of care on businesses as regards waste management. Regulations 3 and 5 require people transferring and receiving waste to: complete waste transfer notes (including a written description of the waste); to document all waste movements; and keep them as a record for at least two years. Copies of Waste Transfer Notes should be kept both by the transferor and the transferee.

    The government offers advice to businesses on its web site at: and

    England and Wales legislate in a similar manner (EPA S33 and 34) and adopt similar mandatory requirements to keep records of what waste they have disposed of and with whom to an authorised waste treatment facility.

    Depending on the type of waste, a local authority or SEPA or the EA can request copies of the documents if they suspect an offence.

  6. While many GWCT people will be counting Farmland Birds this weekend, what effect are these 50 million non-native birds having on our dwindling populations of native birds?

    Many years ago I gave up my career & left my life as a Gamekeeper for two main reasons, Raptor Persecution, which was widespread & which absolutely disgusted me & also the fact that the Game Birds received little or no respect from those paying for the privilege to shoot these birds. From the outside now, it appears that little has changed! :-(

  7. There is nothing factually incorrect with this segment of Mr Bonner’s words as far as I can tell. “Every bird shot in Britain goes into the food chain”. They are going into the food chain, just not necessary the human food chain as he attempts to imply.

    1. These people try to have it all ways.

      Tim Bonner claims 100% of birds are for the table but when the NGO wants to use wild game birds and mammals in stink pits they claim that the birds are shot for “sport” rather than food because then the carcasses are not subject to stringent food regulations or ABPRs. (See Matthew Knight’s quote in an earlier comment of mine.)

  8. Well done to those that have taken the time and effort to research the legislation and regulations associated with this.

    Unfortunately there is no appetite amongst local authority or the police to take any enforcement action.

    Much more likely to persuade the authorities if it was other hazardous waste that was fly tipped.

    At least the “country folk” are unable to blame the “ignorant townies” for being responsible.

  9. My neighbour shoves them underneath the large muck heap, with the teleporter….same as his fallen calves and incidentally my dog..which he shot.

    The Sheikh down the road has the bag crated up and flown back to Dubai…

    Interesting that my neighbours lads also go around and and blow away any birds that aren’t shot during the commercial shoot.
    I heard him blasting away on Sunday…cleaning up…
    Of course any stray birds will interfere with the cereal crop…when they are no longer fed at the cover/ pen.
    Watched them last year…

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