This outrageous incident demonstrates a blatant disregard by the shooting industry for the law and all animals involved.
Game keepers have been filmed illegally trapping and killing ‘game’ birds on the Chargot Shooting Estate, Somerset, during the closed shooting season.
Footage obtained by investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports, a leading animal welfare charity, shows the birds being caught and killed during the closed shooting season on one of Britain’s most prestigious shooting estates.
A file has been prepared and passed to Avon and Somerset Police. The film shows pheasants entering a funnel cage - a cage designed to trap birds – and a man entering the same cage several hours later.
The man, who is believed to be an employee of the Chargot Estate, is seen swinging each male bird by the neck in an attempt to kill it, leaving some dead and some visibly distressed and flapping about.
On another occasion a different man and a woman are seen stuffing female birds into crates, treating them roughly and holding them by the wings. Catching up, as collecting the pheasants is known, is illegal outside of the shooting season.
It is believed female pheasants are kept for breeding purposes while the males are seen as surplus and killed.
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We are appalled to see these animals suffering in this way.
"Not only that, but we believe they are committing a crime under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This outrageous incident demonstrates a blatant disregard by the shooting industry for the law and all animals involved.
“If employees from one of Britain’s most prestigious shooting estates can act like this, others clearly can too. Those who go shooting need to realise that behind their grand days out animals are suffering.”
Open season for pheasant shooting lasts from October to February in England and Wales , with the rest of the year a closed season which prohibits the shooting of birds to allow them to breed.
Chris added: “More than 61 million game birds are released into the British countryside every year. If they’re not cruelly blasted out the sky, they’re captured and killed anyway - or trapped until ready to breed – both illegal during a closed season.”
Brendan Montague is editor of The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from the League Against Cruel Sports.