It’s that time of year again, when pheasants and red-legged partridges have been released into the countryside in their millions (approx 60 million of these non-native species, in fact), they’re then shot for a bit of a laugh and then some of them are simply dumped.
Unfortunately for the game shooting industry, this is an ongoing, criminal and widespread problem, much like illegal raptor persecution is, and it’s drawing even more attention to an industry already under intense pressure to clean up its act.
Previous examples include dumped gamebirds in Cheshire, Scottish borders (here), Norfolk (here), Perthshire (here), Berkshire (here), North York Moors National Park (here) and some more in North York Moors National Park (here) and even more in North Yorkshire (here), Co. Derry (here), West Yorkshire (here), and again in West Yorkshire (here), N Wales (here), mid-Wales (here), Leicestershire (here), Lincolnshire (here), Somerset (here), Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park (here) and Suffolk (here).
Yesterday this photograph of shot & dumped pheasants at the edge of a field was published on Twitter by Toby Carter (@_TCartz):
Some of the comments in response to Toby’s tweet have been quite interesting.
Some people believe that lead ammunition was banned years ago (at the same time as lead was banned from petrol, paint, pipes etc, because lead is a poison) and are amazed that it’s still legally in use. Blimey, imagine what they’d think if they knew that there aren’t any Government restrictions on the amount of lead that they could be exposed to if they ate a shot gamebird, for example one sold by Sainsbury’s, because unlike all other types of meat, gamebirds are exempt from lead testing, even though these birds have all been killed with lead ammunition! Bonkers, eh? It’s almost as though the lawmakers had a vested interest when they passed that bit of legislation, eh??
Others have been unaware of the threat of lead poisoning to the red kite seen feeding on one of the pheasants. Others have suggested the pheasants may be being used as baits to poison raptors. Some people can’t believe that birds of prey are still poisoned by gamekeepers given that these birds have been protected in UK law for almost 70 years.
One thing is clear. Shooting and then dumping gamebirds is a brilliant way for the game-shooting industry to draw the public’s attention to its many, many malpractices. Keep sharing on social media folks, we’re reaching new people every day.