15 sacks of pheasants dumped in Dyfi River in Wales – police investigating

Fifteen plastic sacks full of pheasant remains have been found dumped in the River Dyfi near Machynlleth in Wales.

The first nine sacks were found on 14th February, seemingly thrown from a bridge near Glantwymyn, probably in the hope they’d be washed out to sea. However, likely due to the weight of the dead birds in the sacks and the low river flow, they stayed put.

Images of the sacks in the river were sent to County Councillor Elwyn Vaughan, who posted images on Twitter and alerted Dyfed Powys Police.

Powys County Times website published an article about the discovery of the dumped carcasses a few days later (see here).

However, on Friday Councillor Vaughan reported finding a further six sacks that had also been dumped in the river:

According to the article in Powys County News, Dyfed Powys Police and ‘environmental health’ are investigating.

Regular blog readers will know that the dumping of shot gamebirds is not a new phenomenon, it’s been happening up and down the country for years, e.g. 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), Suffolk (here), Leicestershire again (here), Somerset again (here), Liverpool (here), even more in North Wales (here) even more in Wales, again (here), in Wiltshire (here) in Angus (here), in Somerset again (here), once again in North Yorkshire (here) and yet again in West Yorkshire (here).

Earlier this month DEFRA Minister (and gamebird shooter) Lord Benyon failed to address a question put to him in the House of Lords by Natalie Bennett about the risk of avian flu being spread by the (unlawful) reckless dumping of shot gamebirds in the countryside (see here).

24 thoughts on “15 sacks of pheasants dumped in Dyfi River in Wales – police investigating”

  1. Absolutely outrageous! Don’t forget that the people who did this just love the countryside and look after it. Quite clearly they don’t care at all. This is yet more evidence to support the case that shooting and the importation of Pheasants must be banned.

  2. Not sure why you put environmental health in quotes? Fly tipping investigated by local authority Environmental Health team.

  3. Ask the shooters. No one wants them to eat. So the beaters gather them up and dump them. Its all about the kill. Dreadful.

  4. This will continue to happen with ghoulish regularity I’m afraid, until this vile ‘business’ is banned completely…..as if these poor birds’ suffering was not enough, the collateral harms to wildlife and the environment are so huge as to be sufficient in and of themselves to warrant a ban. ! The entire thing is so primitive and panders to the blood lust of those wealthy enough to engage in it. Ban, ban, ban…..

  5. Interesting that County Councillor Elwyn Vaughan was more worried about the river polution than the environmental damage caused by the annual introduction to the British countyside of 60 million birds native to sout east Asia … only to be brutally hunted for fun and then discarded

  6. Dyfi…that rings a bell i.e. last year’s LACS video of pheasants being dumped down a ‘well’. Is this the same area?

  7. How much evidence does DEFRA need before they are capable of making a decision to suspend all pheasant / partridge shooting whilst this outbreak of avian flu persists. It is hardly fair on the poultry industry which have been required to bring all birds indoors, whilst we have some individuals involved in game shooting who are completely incapable of following BASC shooting guidelines, and flout the law and regulations relating to disposal of dead unwanted game birds, with all the potential risks that this poses in spreading avian flu.
    I wait with interest to see how this incident is reported by the various umbrella shooting organisations and NGO and what further guidance they give their members. It must be in everyone’s interests to rid the countryside of the criminals? (It is nice to see the the NGO have permanently expelled Paul Allen from their organisation- hopefully they will take similar disciplinary action against any gamekeeper found guilty of dumping unwanted game in the countryside?)

  8. What are the Labour Party in the Senedd Cymru doing about these shooters’ crimes? Whenever there are nasty events like this in Scotland there are always political rants about the SNP ScotGov in the comments section here, but notice the complete absence of similar anger towards Labour in Wales (or in England where they hope to become the party in power). What are they going to do about the outrageous behaviour of the bird-killing-for-fun criminals?

    1. Well said. It amazes me that certain people can criticise the Scottish Government for “not doing enough”, yet stay silent when the same thing happens under their own party’s watch.

      Some of us call that hypocrisy.

      1. From what I understand the Scottish government in Holyrood, were given far more powers under devolution that the Welsh Senned. I am no expert on this matter, and my knowledge is limited but I understand Scotland and Northern Ireland have devolved powers to legislate for any matter save those expressly excepted or reserved to Westminster. Wales, by contrast, has much more limited legislative powers in only those areas where powers have been expressly conferred on the National Assembly. As such I understand the Scottish Government has devolved powers relating to policing and criminal justice, powers which weren’t given to the Senned. This will have consequences when it comes to matters like passing legislation to deal with issues like raptor persecution.
        It would be hardly fair to criticise the Welsh government for not doing enough if they haven’t been given the devolved powers to do so.
        Likewise It would be unfair to criticise the Labour party in England if they are not in government. I am sure that should they win the next election, they will be judged on what they do and what they don’t do!
        Whilst not perhaps relevant to the single issue of raptor persecution your comments perhaps also demonstrate some lack of understanding of the some of the complexities surrounding the Scottish Independence issue. I wonder how many of the issues facing Scotland are actually more of a reflection on the Scottish governments own failures, and their failure to use devolution to the best advantage of Scotland, rather problems created by Westminster and the Union? For example, the delays in passing the legislation on introducing Regulations for grouse shooting haven’t been caused by Westminster but by the Scottish government!
        This might explain some of the criticism directed at the SNP which you are referring to?

        I would suggest these matters of devolved powers and responsibilities of governance, may be matters the people of Scotland want to fully explore for themselves rather than simply listening to the political spin put out by the political parties? (But let’s not get into a discussion about this!)
        Personally, I would like to see any reform of wildlife legislation be applied equally across the whole of the United Kingdom. Birds of prey don’t recognise borders and a Hen Harrier born in Scotland should be equally safe wherever it chooses to fly.

        1. No, I get annoyed by hypocrites complaining about the Scottish Government, yet they stay silent whenever their own party fails to act on the same types of crime.

          I have criticised the Scottish Government/SNP many times on this site over the years, and progress has been painfully slow in relation to tackling wildlife crime, however I despise the pure hypocrisy, usually from Labour supporters, who somehow manage to see past their own party’s failings, and offer nonsense arguments for the inaction.

          The Welsh Government has responsibility over Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry & Rural Development. It also has powers over the Environment, it has powers over Agricultural pollution, and it has full control over Water quality and Water resources. Fly-tipping is also illegal in Wales.

          Given that the Welsh Government has all of those devolved powers, if it can not act in any meaningful way against such crimes, then it isn’t trying very hard. Or at all.

    2. The Senedd doesn’t have power to legislate on these matters. Holyrood does. The SNP have been in power at Holyrood for fifteen years and over that time they have delayed, prevaricated and obfuscated. That’s why they are rightly criticised for failing to effectively deal with the issue.

      And I’m not quite sure what why you think an opposition party at Westminster should be held to account for failing to introduce legislation.

      Might be better if you directed your criticisms at Ewing and the others within the SNP who are the obstacle to progress.

      1. The Senedd does have the powers to act on these matters. The Welsh Government has responsibility over Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry & Rural Development. It also has powers over the Environment, it has powers over Agricultural pollution, and it has full control over Water quality and Water resources. Fly-tipping is also illegal in Wales.

        The Labour Party in Wales could easily be taking action against such crimes, but chooses not to. For anyone to try and excuse the Labour Party’s inaction on such crimes, and use the standard deflection tactics, is part of the problem, not the solution.

        1. If you are going to accuse people of hypocrisy, shouldn’t you first establish whether those people actually live in Wales, vote Labour, and also be sure of all your facts?

          The Scottish Government in their proposals for grouse Moor licencing state- “The main purpose of the proposals to license grouse shooting is to address the on-going issue of wildlife crime and in particular persecution of raptors on grouse moors. It will do this by enabling the application of a meaningful civil sanction regime for offences against wild birds and other specified wildlife crimes.”

          When the Scottish Government discuss the standard of proof required for a licence to be revoked. The proposals clearly state- “Where Police Scotland have evidence which leads them to believe that a specified wildlife crime may have taken place on the land in question, the licensing authority (NatureScot) would consider the evidence and decide whether they believe that the licence holder has not been acting in accordance with licence conditions, or where the licence holder is suspected to have committed, or been convicted of, an offence. NatureScot will base their decision on the civil standard of proof”.

          So effectively what the Scottish Government is proposing is legislation to tackle wildlife crime, by introducing a grouse moor licensing scheme which will rely on the civil burden of proof that offences have been committed rather than the much higher criminal burden of proof, which is proving so problematic in securing convictions against the perpetrators of those crimes.

          The question when it comes to devolved powers is whether grouse moor licensing is an issue of policing and justice, or agriculture, forest and fisheries.

          The above statements by the Scottish Government would suggest to me that grouse moor licencing is a matter of policing and justice, as the proposed licensing is being introduced specifically to tackle the on going issue of wildlife crime and raptor persecution.

          Justice and policing are one of the devolved powers which the Welsh Senned can not legislate on.

          If I am wrong, I will stand corrected , and there may be other contributors to this blog who can clarify this matter further?

          However, I do have to wonder what has generated your apparent hostility towards the Labour Party which has formed a minority government in Wales. Could it be, that with the resignation of the Nicola Sturgeon, there is now a possibility that the Labour Party in Scotland could see a resurgence, weaken SNP support, and possibly form the next government in Holyrood. Something which, some political commentators have suggested might happen?

          I think the best we can hope for is that regardless of whichever party is in power, and whether those politicians sit in Holyrood, the Senned or Westminster, is that politicians finally wake up to the importance of actually doing something to protect nature and the environment, and start to deliver on the promises they make rather than the current inaction, lethargy and delay. This is something we should hold all politicians accountable for, regardless of the colour of their rosette!

          1. This is not a raptor persecution case, it is a simple case of dead Pheasants being dumped in a river, yet your main aim has been to deflect to the Scottish Government’s failures on tackling raptor persecution and grouse moor licensing! That’s two comments you’ve provided, and on both occasions you have explicitly ignored the crime in Wales, and fixated on the Scottish Government, or the SNP. I’ll let others make up their own minds as to why you would choose to repeatedly deviate from the subject of illegally dumped Pheasants in Wales and deflect to the Scottish Government’s performance on wildlife crime and legislation. It shouldn’t matter one bit if the Scottish Government has more powers over its Welsh counterpart, because this crime fell within the remit of Welsh Government devolved powers.

            However, as you deemed it unfair to criticise the Labour Party in England, something which I never mentioned out of interest, but you clearly tried to insinuate that I did, just in case you are unaware, there are no such political parties called Scottish Labour, the Scottish Labour Party, Welsh Labour, or the Welsh Labour Party. There is only the Labour Party, which operates in Scotland, England and Wales. There are no others. I don’t know what the exact status that “Welsh Labour” has, but “Scottish Labour”, or the “Scottish Labour Party” exists only as an accounting unit of the UK-wide Labour Party. It does not exist as a political party, and you can check the list of registered political parties on the Electoral Commission website, if you don’t believe me.

            I didn’t specifically mention anyone, or where they stayed. I merely stated a fact that those people that frequently complain about the Scottish Government’s performance, have a tendency to stay quiet when the party that they support has a proven track record of performing worse, sometimes much worse, than the Scottish Government. These people, in the majority, tend to support the Labour Party. I’ve heard it all throughout the years. From the Labour Party’s incessant criticisms about NHS Scotland (which is in a dire situation, but tends to perform better than NHS Wales), to the repeated calls for the Scottish Government to renationalise the railways, whilst they themselves had ignored it in Wales (and had made such promises in the run-up to the 1997 General Election), to the demands made by “Scottish Labour” for equal pay for women, despite that party spending £millions fighting this very thing through the Scottish Courts! Then there were the frequent criticisms of the Scottish Government’s plans to allow local authorities to introduce the Workplace Parking Levy despite the Labour Party planning to introduce it as far back as 1999. There are many, many other cases. As I mentioned, pure hypocrisy.

            My hostility towards the Labour Party is long-running, and it stems from their decades of lies and hypocrisy. I am a socialist, something which the Labour Party distanced itself from many years ago. You just need to look at the number of Labour Party “socialists” that fill the House of Lords. Shameful

            And do you remember Ed Miliband’s admittance that he would rather have a Tory government than do a deal with the SNP? Well, he got his wish! The current leader of the Labour Party has also invariably admitted to the same. Those are some of the reasons for my hostility towards the Labour Party.

            I can assure you that it has nothing to do with Sturgeon’s resignation, as I dislike her and the SNP just as much. Incidentally, the SNP has been more than capable of weakening its own support these past few years. Nor does it have anything to do with a Labour resurgence in Scotland, because that might just not happen. Political commentators have been getting this wrong for years, and with every new leader that “Scottish Labour” gets, the same tired old lines are trotted out.

            Jim Murphy was going to win every seat for Labour in the 2015 General Election (he managed to win 1, and lost his own!), then Kezia Dugdale was the media’s new darling, and she again was going to “wipe the floor” with the SNP. After she failed, Richard Leonard was going to take on the fight, rebuild Labour, and win back seats from the SNP. That didn’t happen either. Anas Sarwar is the latest to “hammer the SNP”, but that remains to be seen. The Labour Party in Scotland has a long way to go, as it currently sits behind the truly toxic Tories. Any “resurgence” will only be as a result of SNP incompetence in recent years, and nothing to do with the Labour Party “improving”, because that is something that it seems incapable of doing at the moment.

            The SNP is a shambles, but unfortunately for everyone, the opposition in Scotland is considerably worse.

            1. I really don’t know how to reply to your comments which appear to be scattered in so many conflicting directions. but I will try and respond to your accusations.
              Firstly, you seem incapable of recognising that not everyone supports a particular political party or aligns themselves to a particular political ideology, and that criticism of a government can simply arise from evaluation of that governments actions or inactions rather than from a rigid political ideological position. I would suggest that any political party which puts themselves forward to govern a country is open to criticism if they fail to govern in a way which meets people’s expectations. I note in your comments you mention having previously criticised the SNP and Scottish government, and do so again in your latest remarks, but then appear to take great offence when others do the same.
              Whilst you didn’t explicitly mention the Labour party in England, your initial comment was a response to a comment which did. My response was a reply to that complete thread of comments, so why you have chosen to take such issue with this is beyond me.
              As regards the issue of the pheasants dumped in the river Dyfi.
              The fact that there is evidence of similar offences occurring nationwide would suggest this is not an issue peculiar to Wales. I would also suggest that this dumping of dead pheasants in the river is a symptom of the underlying criminal behaviour displayed by some of the people linked to game bird shooting, and also includes raptor persecution and other wildlife crimes.
              Since there is already existing legislation to deal with the illegal dumping of unwanted game birds, but which seems to be having little effect on preventing these offences from occurring, or bringing offenders to justice, then this could suggest that the best long term solution would be to look at tackling this underlying criminal behaviour which might be causing these incidents.
              Perhaps, I didn’t express myself very clearly in my discourse on the Scottish governments proposal to introduce grouse moor licensing, which was an attempt to explore whether the Welsh Assembly with its more limited political freedom under devolution was actually in a position to deliver similar legislation to deal with this underlying criminal behaviour.
              We will have to wait and see whether any licensing also extends to pheasants and other game birds.
              Whilst the Welsh Assembly have devolved powers in respect of agriculture, the environment and forestry, etc, they appear to have much more limited powers when it comes to justice and policing, something you seem to have ignored, but something which may be relevant to their ability to introduce legislation to deal with crime. I may be wrong on this, and matters like grouse moor licensing might be an issue which falls within a category other than policing and justice, but this shouldn’t prevent a discussion on this subject taking place.
              If however, you suggest that the only issue to be discussed is the single act of dumping unwanted game birds into the river Dyfi, and any solution by the Welsh Assembly must be a direct response to this single issue; then as you have already accepted that the dumping of dead game birds in a river is already an offence in Wales, then what more would you have the Welsh Assembly do? I note you offer no suggestions, but if you wish the Assembly to introduce more criminal legislation to target this problem, then this may also be matter which falls under “justice and policing” and may be something the Welsh Assembly could have limited powers to introduce. However, as mentioned previously, since this issue is not peculiar to Wales but is a nationwide problem, and if a remedy can be found which falls within the remit of agriculture, fisheries, forestry or the environment, then shouldn’t you also be demanding that whatever additional action is undertaken by the Welsh Assembly is also undertaken by the Scottish or Westminster parliaments? I suggest we now close this discussion.

    3. I ‘withdrew’ from party politics a long time ago, for that way madness surely lay. I am old enough to have been ‘betrayed’ by Governments of every colour, not the least of which has been red. I have seen and felt betrayal up very close…

      However, it was Labour in Scotland (with the Greens) who voted many times in favour of strengthening the various clauses of the Hunting with Dogs Bill, while the SNP and Tories (and the couple of Lib Dems) voted in a block to prevent them.

      You just cannot trust politicians…

  9. Just when will Labour and the Lib Dems realise that there is an open goal here for them? There are many,many rural folk who are sick of stories like this. Just commit to a ban on driven shooting – there’s nothing to lose.

    1. Only my own opinion, but Labour don’t seem to like to antagonise the establishments private hobbies too much when they get in power. Foxhunting a good example – i.e. they made a long overdue but deliberately crap law with no will to enforce it. But more importantly to me is this – and you can call me a conspiracy theory nutter, I don’t mind. A lot of the people who guest regularly on the top grouse moors and (to a lesser extent) the top lowground shoots include people who are “globally politically powerful”. Many are global financiers themselves and others work in top jobs in the international lending institutions Regrettably, our next government will need to continue to borrow more money on reasonable terms from these people and their institutions. The risk of pi—ng off this tiny but powerful strata of global society is to me one of the big reasons why a bold and decisive outright ban on driven shooting is not going to be on a centrist Labour manifesto.

  10. This is a response to John L about the powers of the Welsh and Scottish governments under devolution. It is correct to say that Scotland has far more powers under devolution than Wales. They can legislate on far more matters and have wider powers on many issues. Should Scotland get independence then it will be far easier to proceed because of this. Having lived in Scotland for some time now, I don’t think the powers they have are used very well in many areas.

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