These are beautiful birds are not native to Britain, but have a long history of residence. Over the years, we have welcomed several into the shelter of our back garden. They are shy though, and flutter away at the first sign of movement. We peek through the glass door in our communal hall to catch a glimpse of their brilliant feathers, glinting in the light. So far this year, I haven't seen any.
Anti-blood sports campaigners like the League Against Cruel Sports and Animal Aid describe the annual shooting season as the “Cruel Game”.
You might wonder why.
Pheasants and partridges used for breeding are confined in tiny wire-mesh cages for months or even years rather than wandering around the countryside in freedom.
The shooting industry says the sport is worth £2 billion to the UK economy and supports the equivalent of 74,000 full-time jobs.
Animal welfare organisations are calling for a ban on metal battery cages for both pheasants and partridges, which they say are “cruel and oppressive”. Source: Express.
Lord Aldenham owns all the land for miles opposite Elstree where I live. My neighbour and I used to walk around various parts of our area every morning. One day we strayed further along some private land and climbed the style beside the locked metal gate. We'd never seen anyone on the land apart from teenage boys carrying fishing rods toward the small lake on the property.
But that day, a work car pulled up at the gate and a ranger climbed out. We admitted we were taking a walk. The ranger asked us to leave, because we'd scare His Lordship's pheasants and the shooting season was just about to begin.
We retraced our steps, shamefaced. His Lordships pheasants were left in peace that day, before being blasted with pellets a week later.
If these were pheasants who enjoyed a life of freedom until that day, it wouldn't be so bad. But, how cruel for industrious people to raise birds simply to be shot for sport.
Do you know of similar activities?