Every year, an unbelievable 50 million pheasants and partridges are reared for the shooting industry in Britain. These ‘game’ birds are born and raised in tiny confined laying cages where they are viewed as nothing more than commodities for the so-called ‘sport’ of shooting them from the sky. For many of these birds their lives are utterly miserable from start to finish – not only are they brought into the world to provide some sort of sick entertainment value, but the conditions they are kept in for their short lives are horrific.
Animal Aid reports that caged pheasants suffer high levels of stress, feather loss and wounds to their backs and heads. Many of these desperate birds lunge repeatedly at their cage roofs in a vain attempt to escape their miserable fate. The charity is calling for MPs across the UK to recognise this horrific treatment and implement a ban on battery cages for pheasant and partridge production.
Each battery cage holds one male and up to ten female pheasants for the duration of their ‘useful’ lives. Partridges are kept in very similar contraptions. A lot of the birds are forced to wear face masks to combat aggression; an unsurprising side effect resulting from their cramped, stressful conditions. A lot of the birds are so desperate to escape the cages they repeatedly fly up into the cage roof, which then results in what the industry calls ‘scalping’. The birds can’t win. Once they’re finished being of breeding value, they’re killed. Quite simply an economic commodity from start to finish, with absolutely no interest taken in the fact they are beautiful, sociable birds.
A recent report by the Scottish Gamekeepers Association found that shooting was worth £32 million to the Scottish rural economy annually. It seems incredulous to think that birds which bring so much money to people by being plucked by a bullet from the sky, cannot be afford simple care such as adequate, comfortable housing. In fact if you really think about it – would free range kept birds not at the very least provide more of a challenge to shooters? It’s meant to be a ‘skill’ after all, so the hunters claim. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could back this up for once and put their money where their trigger happy fingers are?
Please take a moment to contact your local MP and ask them to pledge their support for a ban on the use of battery cages for the breeding of pheasants and partridges. You will also be able to check there whether your MP has already signed up. Let’s get the plight of these poor birds on our politicians’ agendas for once. It’s time this horrific industry started paying for its partridges.
Related post: https://catdraggedin.co.uk/2014/08/13/favourable-prospects-for-annual-grouse-slaughter-as-hen-harrier-numbers-fall/
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