Yet more dead pheasants dumped in North and West Yorkshire

Quelle surprise! It’s another year and another opportunity for a load of dead pheasants to be dumped.

Here are two more cases reported on social media in recent days, one load dumped in North Yorkshire and another in West Yorkshire, to add to previous reports of shot dumped birds in Cheshire, Scottish borders (here), Norfolk (here), Perthshire (here), Berkshire (here), North York Moors National Park (here) and some more in North Yorkshire (here), Co. Derry (here), West Yorkshire (here), N Wales (here), mid-Wales (here), Leicestershire (here) and Lincolnshire (here).

The latest gruesome discovery in North Yorkshire included a potato sack full of dead pheasants dumped by the side of the road in York:

The pheasant dumping incident in West Yorkshire was reported on twitter by West Yorkshire Police but no photos available:

Gamebird dumping continues to be a widespread problem. 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 (conservatively estimated to be almost 60 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 carcasses 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“.

That statement wasn’t true in 2005 and nor is it true 15 years later in 2020, despite the game shooting industry’s extensive (but flawed, e.g. see here) PR efforts to persuade the public that everything that’s killed is done ethically and sustainably.

Last year DEFRA admitted, after a legal challenge by Wild Justice, that gamebird releases need to be assessed properly for their potential ecological damage to protected nature conservation sites. As the clock counts down to more gamebird releases this year and with no indication that DEFRA will sort itself out in time, Wild Justice is preparing to re-visit the legal challenge.

16 thoughts on “Yet more dead pheasants dumped in North and West Yorkshire”

  1. Any response from Mr Bonner on this latest of many pheasant carcass dumping incidents?
    Perhaps Mr Botham would like to respond.

  2. And of course these birds would likely have been artificially raised and then given supplementary feed in the ‘wild’. So this represents food waste in the standard sense – products of agriculture. Therefore land was farmed, soil lost, herbicides and pesticides sprayed, artificial fertiliser used to produce millions and millions of birds that end up as roadkill, fox fodder and dumped by the road. I wouldn’t be surprised if during its lifetime a pheasant received far more grain than a typical frozen chicken at Tesco had. Greenpeace have a major campaign about the amount of soya from deforested south America that’s been brought in to feed chicken especially. Is any being used for pheasant and red legged partridge? Gameshooting is hardly an alternative to farming when it actually needs so much of it. From the other side there’s growing recognition that a lot of our woods are ecologically knackered because they are choked out with non native invasive plants originally put in for game cover. The Conservation Volunteers – TCV – recently posted a feature mentioning that rhododendron, cherry laurel and snowberry were causing problems and all had been planted out as game cover. Not quite so well known is that this is still going on

  3. Well said Les. Pheasants and the industry which surrounds them has now become a stain on the environment … and their role in spreading the ticks and bacteria which cause Lyme’s Disease is vastly understated. This should be seen as a human health issue rather than simply an environmental problem.

    1. Thanks George, I need to remember to keep raising your point about pheasant contributing to the spread of Lyme’s disease too. I had forgotten to mention that a couple of months ago I was talking to a youngish guy who had once worked on a grouse moor. He remembers having the job of throwing shot grouse out of the ATV along the side of a hill track to make the ‘surplus’ from the shoot disappear. How much of this is going on?

  4. The Food Standards Agency advise strongly against eating lead shot game:

    From (December 2017)

    “Lead-shot game –

    Consuming lead is harmful, health experts advise to minimise lead consumption as much as possible. Anyone who eats lead-shot game should be aware of the risks posed by consuming large amounts of lead, especially children and pregnant women…

    Exposure to lead can harm the developing brain and nervous system. So cutting down the amount of lead-shot game eaten is especially important for:

    pregnant women
    women trying for a baby…

    There is no agreed safe level for lead intake. Independent scientific expert groups across the European Union advise that exposure to lead should be reduced as far as possible.”

    Picking out the lead pellets does not change this advice because spallation spreads the highly toxic heavy metal deep into the surrounding material undetected.

    Lead shot small game should be completely banned from the food chain since the levels of lead discovered often exceed the levels of lead ingested from lead-painted toys – which have been banned as a result – and the levels found in water from lead pipes – which have also been banned.

    There are clearly TWO standards being employed about lead in our environment. Selling lead shot small game for consumption remains legal because, I dare say, of the influence the shooting industry has both in Government and Whitehall, while lead in petrol, lead in domestic paint and lead in water piping, for example, has long since been banned.

    If lead shot pheasants were fit to eat they would NOT regularly be found dumped in the countryside.

    The same goes for grouse.

    Why has lead shot small game not been banned? Is it because the partner of one Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency happened to own a shooting estate? The current Chief Executive (Emily Miles) is a Quaker and holds a Masters in the law of international armed conflict!

    Let’s reduce the use of arms in our countryside by banning lead shot small game from the food chain.

  5. The use of lead while shooting continues is spreading lead into the raptor species which feed on lost or dumped gamebirds.
    Even owls make use of carrion.
    Until shooting ends, it should be using non – toxic shot.
    Falconers know just how toxic small numbers of tiny lead shot are to large raptors which ingest them.
    Non – toxic rifle ammo should also be mandatory, particularly given the increase in numbers and range of UK eagle species in particular which find deer carrion containing lead.
    The use of rodanticides is also a massive problem for raptors and owls.

    Keep up the pressure !

  6. I’ve been alerting charities in Aberdeen not to accept pheasant breasts from Estates with histories of raptor persecution – for example, the Estate attached to the ‘alleged’ killing of a hen harrier in June 2013. Food banks and some charities are accepting pheasant breasts and the Estates are self-congratulating themselves on their so-called philanthropy. I’ve asked some charities to consider the potential risks of negative synergistic effects from lead shot and client medication.
    Clearly their gift of game isn’t what it’s made out to be judging by the amount of dumped pheasants. I’m not hopeful that the current government will do anything about this though.

  7. A shoot nearby has installed an incinerator to dispose of the shot birds. They like to kill so many they could never eat them all. These are the same birds that our native raptors are killed for.

  8. My pheasants form part of my diet over winter and taste excellent.

    What little is left goes in the bin (bones left from being boiled, guts, skin etc). I do wonder if the birds shown have been breasted first before disposal?

    It would be nice if some folk disposed of things in a more responsible manner.

    On the issue of lead shot alternatives in shot guns mentioned in your comments section- two cartridge manufacturers have recently released what I believe to be the first real alternatives to lead – they are rare as rocking horse doodah at the moment but I’m really encouraged by what I’ve heard and the interest they have gathered.

  9. “It would be nice if some folk disposed of things in a more responsible manner.”

    Dumping game birds in this way is a criminal offence! Even Defra acknowledges! Disposing of waste through an authorised waste disposal company is supposed to protect people, animals and the wider environment from the spread of disease and pollution. “It would be nice” indeed! That seems to be the level our regulators seem to aspire to.

    Burning, lead shot, disposing of unwanted carcasses (of game animals and ‘vermin’), illegal persecution of wildlife, draining bogs, stink pits, – these so-called ‘conservationists’ don’t seem to give a fig about protecting the environment, protecting people’s health and property or the welfare of many other wild animals!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: