Shooting estate admits gamekeeper responsible for mass dumping of shot pheasants

Following on from the disturbing footage released yesterday by the League Against Cruel Sports, showing an individual tossing dead gamebirds into an unused mineshaft in Powys, Wales (see here), an extraordinary admission has been made by the local shooting estate.

[Photo from a video clip from the League Against Cruel Sports, published yesterday, here]

Published in an article by ITV News (here), a spokesperson for Dyfi Falls shooting estate is quoted as follows:

All game shot on the shooting estates run by Cambrian Birds Limited is processed through a certified game dealer which then goes on for human consumption.

Cambrian Birds allow their keepers to retain a certain number of birds for their personal consumption.

We understand that in this instance the individual in question stripped the meat off the birds and thereafter disposed of the carcasses by throwing them into a disused mineshaft.

Such a practice is contrary to the company rules and procedures. The individual in question was severely reprimanded and no longer works for the company“.

Severely reprimanded?? Why the hell wasn’t he sacked and reported to the authorities?

Cambrian Birds Limited, the outfit reported to be ‘managing’ the shoot at Dyfi Falls, is worth a closer look. Particularly this blog written by someone who seems to know the local area well.

I’ve been looking for statements of unequivocal condemnation about this latest pheasant-dumping debacle from the major shooting organisations but at the time of writing I haven’t seen anything on the websites of BASC, National Gamekeepers Association, Countryside Alliance or the GWCT.

BASC is cited in the ITV news article but simply says it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation and gave some general advice about the disposal of shot gamebirds. Why BASC can’t make a statement of unequivocal condemnation about those pheasants being flung down the mineshaft, I don’t know. The estate has already admitted that a gamekeeper from Cambrian Birds Limited was responsible so there is no danger of libelling the shoot or prejudicing a potential prosecution.

Countryside Alliance Wales was also cited in the ITV news article but again failed to offer anything more robust than a sentence of advice about how gamebirds should be disposed.

What a pathetic response from the shooting industry. It was suggested to me on Twitter by a former policy director at the CLA (Country Land & Business Association) that even if the shooting organisations did condemn it, the shooters/gamekeepers won’t necessarily listen. That’s an damning admission that these organisations can’t influence enough of their members to stop this appalling behaviour, in which case, as self-regulation is impossible then statutory regulation of the game-shooting industry should be imposed without delay.

In an article on today’s BBC website (here), a spokesperson from Natural Resources Wales said its investigation was ongoing.

UPDATE 1st February 2022: Game-shooting industry scrupulously ignoring the mass dumping of shot pheasants (here)

UPDATE 2nd February 2022: Awkward….(here)

8 thoughts on “Shooting estate admits gamekeeper responsible for mass dumping of shot pheasants”

  1. Now I live in Mid Wales and we are surrounded by land shot over by another big commercial shoot who release untold thousands of both Pheasants and Partridges that are shot on at least two or three days a week throughout the season. These birds have completely trashed the ground in at least two of the woods they are released in, local gardens too are plagued with them with considerable damage. Complain and you are told it helps local employment and the economy. I was told most of the birds shot are buried, although this year a game trailer is around the drives on shoot days. The whole thing is madness one wonders at the price our local ecology pays for the pleasure of the morally and ethically bankrupt to shoot at living targets. Time it was all stopped it bears no resemblance to hunting a natural surplus for the pot.

    1. Very well said Paul . It is the ‘local ecology ‘ that I too worry about ; wholesale slaughter of foxes , stoats , weasels , corvids and raptors

  2. BBC Wales news is saying Cambian Shoot has severely reprimanded the individual and he no longer works for them.

    1. Hardly solves the problem of these huge commercial shoots releasing thousands of birds which trash our local ecology themselves and their minders kill an awful lot of wildlife to “protect” them and when they are shot by hundred on shoot days by the morally bankrupt there is no real market for the lead tainted meat. It all needs to be stopped.

  3. In their statement Cambrian Birds claim – “All game shot on the shooting estates run by Cambrian Birds Limited is processed through a certified game dealer which then goes on for human consumption. ”
    This statement appears to contradict their other statement that “Cambrian Birds allow their keepers to retain a certain number of birds for their personal consumption.” ??

    So what exactly is the position?
    What is the percentage of shot birds supplied to the game dealer, and what percentage is retained by the keepers?

    It would be interesting to compare how many game birds Cambrian Birds release each year with the number of shot birds supplied to the certified game dealer.

    This might help verify their claims about complying with Codes of Good shooting practice. It would also give a good indication of the environmental impact that the release of the game birds are having on the local environment.

    From the information from the Tales from Wild Wales blog it would seem that “outsiders”- those very people that supporters of the shooting industry so frequently like to ridicule as knowing nothing about the local countryside, have bought a farm and sold the shooting rights to a commercial game shooting company, who have then developed a commercial shoot, with new roads being built.

    I assume planning permission will have been granted for this activity? So what were the proposals when this planning application was submitted?
    Are the terms in that planning permission being complied with?
    Was a proper environmental impact study carried out regarding the commercial release of so many game birds near a SSSI?

    I would suggest that as part of the investigation into the illegal dumping of the birds in the mine shaft, the original planning application and what is reported as change in use of the land to a much larger commercial shoot should also be closely scrutinised.

    Having recently listened to a news story regarding Welsh farmers complaining about offers to buy up land and reforest it, then why isn’t there equal outcry when an English based commercial shooting company buys up land and turns into a commercial game shoot and imports 1000’s of non native birds into the countryside, with all the potential damage that this could cause the local environment?

    How does the release of 1000’s of non native game birds into the countryside fit in with the governments Environment Bill and halting the decline in nature?
    These are all matters local council planning departments should be taking into consideration, and local people should be consulted on.

    With the pressures on farming, changes to subsidies and trade deals being made by the government, there is a real risk that small family farms could be sold off, and then the land bought by outsiders whose only interests are purely commercial. This could see land turned into commercial shoots where the gloss talks about conservation, tree planting etc, which potentially gives access to public funds, but the reality is the land becomes degraded by the release of 1000’s of game birds or other inappropriate use???

    It is something anyone with an interest in conservation needs to be mindful of.

    Fortunately in this case something seems to have prompted the LACS to investigate what was going on in this remote valley.

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