All About Animals: The Issues (Ages 14-16): Shooting

 

While many people think that rabbits, ducks and foxes are beautiful, wonderful creatures, others like to shoot them for fun or for food. An estimated 350,000 grouse are shot every year and up to 35 million pheasants are intensively reared each year in purpose-built hatcheries, cages and pens.

Traditionally, shooting has been seen as a countryman’s sport and one indulged in by royalty. In recent times, shooting syndicates have sprung up to accommodate city high flyers heading out to the countryside to get a taste of country living. Campaigners state that thousands of birds are killed for pleasure and their unwanted bodies buried at the end of the day.

Rough shooters may kill gamebirds, wildfowl, rabbits, hares and pigeons.

A Shooter Might Say…

Shooting is a traditional country sport and forms part of the way of life in the countryside. Shooters are conservationists and many woodlands are planted and maintained solely for shooting purposes. Moors are managed for the same reasons. If the moors weren’t managed for grouse shooting, the heather would be destroyed by overgrazing of livestock.

A healthy quarry population relies on a healthy habitat and if shooting were banned, these habitats would be destroyed and the landscape of Britain would be changed forever.

Shooting is important for the rural economy and generates much-needed capital in countryside communities. Seven thousand people regularly go shooting.

An Opponent of Shooting Might Say…

An estimated 35 million shed-reared pheasants are released each year, but that isn’t the sum total of deaths that this ‘sport’ causes. While the birds are fed and watered to keep them in one place, the gamekeeper protects them by killing foxes, polecats, stoats, weasels, rats, crows, magpies and other birds and animals with traps, snares and poisons. These methods of killing do not discriminate and so domestic animals such as cats and dogs as well as protected species like badgers are also caught and killed. Although illegal, gamekeepers have been known to target birds of prey as well.

Habitats are only conserved so money can be made from them. Farmers saying, “we’ll cut them down if we are not allowed to shoot in them” sounds like they are holding the woodlands and moorland to ransom!

And as for conservation? a walk around the countryside will reveal dilapidated and decaying materials used to fence pheasants in, electric fencing to keep wild animals out, lead shot from cartridges, deadly to wildfowl, and dead animals and birds strung up in trees and on lines.

We would like to see wild birds and animals treated with respect and left alone in what is essentially their own habitat.

You want more info? This is where to go:

Animal Aid www.AnimalAid.org.uk
League Against Cruel Sports https://www.league.org.uk/