More pheasants shot & dumped – Leicestershire this time

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.

10 thoughts on “More pheasants shot & dumped – Leicestershire this time”

  1. It would be bad enough if these were wild birds killed for nothing, misused elements of a natural ecosystem, but they were almost certainly raised artificially. That means they were given feed while growing in captivity and very likely they received supplementary feeding once ‘wild’. That feed is of course grown intensively here and possibly abroad which means ploughed farmland with eroding soils doused with fertiliser, herbicide, pesticide to produce something that ended up contributing sweet FA to the human food chain. All that land that could have been flood reducing wildlife habitat, all the energy and resources used to produce those farm chemicals wasted, and all the environmental problems their use involves for absolutely no purpose except to provide live birds for target practice.

    Every pheasant and red legged partridge dumped like this or squashed on the road should be seen as the equivalent of a frozen chicken from Tesco that someone’s just thrown out through the car window on the drive back from the supermarket – except that I suspect the fast growing broiler chicken may have received far less feed than the typical pheasant or RLP. These birds are agricultural products thereby they need to be classified as food waste along with the approx 40% that’s currently being wasted. Apologies for raising this point yet again, but it’s not getting raised anywhere else and it’s absolutely fundamental. In addition I worked for Calor Gas for a while and occasionally I had to deal with orders from breeders to help keep young pheasants dry and cosy, what a ludicrous misapplication of resources for absolutely nothing.

    1. Not to mention the game birds freely roaming the country, potentially spreading bird flu from one chicken shed to the next.
      How many people on this planet are going hungry?

      1. I don’t know to what extent (and conservation organisations should look into this too), but soymeal can also be used in raising gamebirds. That will almost certainly be south American in origin which means it will have driven rainforest destruction and we will have imported something to produce future fox, landfill and roadkill fodder that could at least have fed malnourished people in the country of origin. Chris Packham made this point beautifully in response to urban foxes being denigrated – they’re only there in the first place because of the amount of food we waste some of which has been imported from countries where people are starving.

    2. What a dreadful waste of the lives of these beautiful birds, and of so many resources, too. I’d like to see an end to offering protection to one breed of bird while encouraging the torture and murder of others. Surprisingly, the people involved in the shooting industry seem unaware of the dangers of tick-borne infections, and may wonder why they develop recurring flu-like symptoms or find themselves being diagnosed with MS, CFS/ME, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, anxiety disorder, depression, psychosis, autoimmune dysfunction, or carditis, for example, later in life, not realising that they’ve picked up multisystemic diseases from tick bites they didn’t know they’d had – nymph ticks are the size of a poppy seed, and very hard to spot when they attach even if you’re looking for them, and pheasants can’t help being tick-mops as they move around the countryside. Unfortunately, the NHS currently doesn’t follow the science when it comes to tick-borne infections, and the prognosis of undiagnosed or under-treated tick-borne infections once they’ve spread around the body to the brain and nervous system isn’t good. What with the inherent cruelty, the waste of lives and resources, the significant risk of life-changing infections and the repeated damage to biodiversity when flocks of birds are released and then murdered, it ‘s long past time to re-evaluate what’s going on.

        1. PS a small tick feeding looks exactly like a stab from a thorn of a blackthorn bush, something I learned while hedging.

  2. Such a shame to see such waste! There must surely be a stink-pit somewhere near that could use a top up of lovely stinky dead things. Just heap ’em on top of the skeletal rooks, cats, gulls and god knows what else…and throw a shovel full or two of leaves or pine needles over the top. At least then these birds would continue to serve the cause of conservation – they could be used to preserve the other pheasants – their pals that they travelled up the motorway with in crates ten weeks ago. And by using their newly rotting smell to lure in and snare a few of those evil foxes that ‘kill for fun’, they can help keep their old comrades alive until their day comes when they are also ‘harvested’ ie. shot & killed, or shot & wounded – for a good day out, in either case.

  3. This issue highlights a number of aspect of game shooting, that the industry tries to hide with its mass propaganda about only killing game for food, and how vital the industry is for conservation and habitat preservation.

    There is an outbreak of avian flu in Britain, and the the government has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain effective from 5pm on 3 November 2021. The AIPZ means all bird keepers in Great Britain (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions.
    Avian flu has been found in wild birds across the country, and the government advice is not to touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find
    Game birds when released are deemed in law as wild birds. ( I would argue that this needs to change – in some areas sheep are released onto the high fells each summer, and then rounded up again in autumn- they are not deemed wild animals, so why are pheasants reared in captivity and released onto shooting estates to be shot in the autumn/winter months deemed wild on release?? )

    Not many weeks ago, millions of non native game birds were released into the countryside, most of which flock together in release areas for the game shooting fraternity to come and kill.
    Could these birds have the potential to act as reservoirs of disease and potentially create a pandemic of Avian flu which could have devastating effects on natural wild birds?
    (From what I can find- it would seem that this latest outbreak of Avian flu which has spread across Europe, and its potential risk to the UK, was first known about around September time, but I can find reports indicating that reports indicated avian flu was present in wild birds in the UK much earlier in the summer. (Ruth- your expert knowledge might shed a lot more light on this issue??) )

    So not only was the release of so many game birds a problem for UK wildlife due to the sheer scale of the numbers, could the release have also raised the risks that these birds present to native wild birds due to the presence of avian flu?
    This raises other questions- if DEFRA knew about the risks of avian flu to the UK – why was the release of millions of non native game birds into the countryside this autumn allowed to go ahead?
    What does it tell us about the actions and responsibility of the game shooting industry towards native wildlife and conservation, when so many birds were bought and released on shooting estates? (In my mind it looks as though no thought was given to conservation and wildlife despite all the propaganda from the various game shooting organisations to suggest otherwise.)

    Dumping birds as highlighted in the report creates a further issue for the authorities, as government advice is not to touch dead wild birds, due to the risks posed by Avian flu. So special arrangements will have to be made to collect and remove the birds from the countryside.

    As mentioned in previous blogs on the subject of dumping dead game birds. It is also an offence under UK law to do this.

    As far as I am concerned the dumping of game birds by some involved in the game shooting industry, indicates that there are those in the countryside who:
    – really don’t care about wildlife and conservation,
    – haven’t the intelligence to consider such matters as bio security and the risks of the disease spreading from wildlife to farmed birds, or how disease can spread geographically (funny how this makes me also think about bovine TB and the badger cull- and how much disease was potentially spread due to poor bio security – and yet the badger was blamed rather than the bad practices by some?)
    – don’t shoot game birds for food (as promoted by the game shooting industry), but simply as a pastime to kill living creatures, because they get enjoyment from watching animals and birds suffer and die.
    -are quite happy to act unlawfully by illegally dumping birds by the roadside or elsewhere in the countryside.

    With a mindset like this- no wonder raptor persecution, and other wildlife crimes are so widespread and prevalent across the UK.

    Such a mindset of some is also very damaging to those who live and work in the countryside and do care!

    It’s time this “countryside mafia” were brought to justice and their activities severely curtailed.

    The only way this will happen, is when decent and honest people come together, and provide information to the police and authorities on those who won’t or can’t behave themselves, so that they can be effectively dealt with.

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