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Industrial scale of pheasant shooting revealed

Two pheasants flying

The industrial scale of rearing pheasants for the shooting industry has been uncovered by Who Owns England’s Guy Shrubsole in a series of FOI requests on the poultry registry made to APHA (the Animal and Plant Health Agency). Every year the shooting industry releases around 40 million Common Pheasants and 10 million Red-legged Partridges for […]

Stage 2 of Scotland’s Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill brings snare ban closer

Holyrood’s Rural Affairs and Islands Committee met on 7 February to discuss amendments to Scotland’s Wildlife Management and Muirburn Bill. The Bill is at stage 2, and the committee voted on an amendment, put forward by MSP Gillian Martin, which will make snare use illegal. Seven MSPs voted for the amendment, with two voting against […]

122 Hen Harriers confirmed ‘missing’ or illegally killed in UK since 2018

Hen Harrier and chick

Using data from the RSPB and Natural England, the UK’s leading website on the illegal persecution of birds of prey, Raptor Persecution UK (RPUK), published the details yesterday of each of 122 Hen Harriers confirmed ‘missing’ or illegally killed in the UK since 2018. Hen Harriers are the most persecuted bird of prey in Britain […]

Why Protect the Wild doesn’t support licencing of the shooting industry.

Staggering levels of raptor persecution (the illegal persecution of birds of prey) have been in the news again following both the release of the RSPB’s Birdcrime report for 2022 and the Scottish Parliament voting on November 30th to support the general principles of the Wildlife Management & Muirburn Bill. The Bill includes measures to introduce […]

Devon: Right to Roam shows how pheasant shoots abuse environment

Dead pheasant

Landowners and gamekeepers like to boast that they are instrumental in conserving England’s wildlife; that they are the true custodians of the land. But shocking photos, taken by a local Right to Roam group, show the havoc wreaked on land by pheasant shoots. South Devon Right to Roam took a walk on the Duke of […]

Scotland: Shooting industry fails to bully politicians over snares

It’s welcome news that the Scottish government has announced that it will push ahead with a change in the law that would fully ban snares. As we previously reported, the shooting industry had been lobbying hard so that it could continue using the torture devices. Gamekeepers and landowners had been trying to influence legislation in […]

Covid-19 Inquiry: Government put more thought into hunting and shooting than supporting women

This week’s Covid Inquiry has highlighted the Tory government’s incompetence during the Covid pandemic. Former deputy cabinet secretary Helena MacNamara gave a witness statement arguing that Johnson and his “macho” and “toxic” team gave more thought to hunting and shooting interests than they did women’s issues. MacNamara’s 97-page statement, criticising the governing of the pandemic, […]

Shooting industry fails to criminalise Chris Packham

chris packham goshawk chicks

Hampshire Police has said that it won’t press charges against Chris Packham. The wildlife presenter’s supposed crime? Sniffing a goshawk chick on the BBC’s The One Show. Packham appeared on the programme back in August with three ringed chicks in the New Forest. He sniffed one to detect their “characteristic scent or perfume”. An individual […]

UK FIRST: Wales snare ban comes into force today

The Wales snare ban has finally come into force today, on 17 October 2023. The country is the first in the UK to implement such a ban. Scotland, too, is likely to be following in Wales’ footsteps. Meanwhile, England lags far behind both countries when it comes to the welfare of our wildlife. The Welsh […]

The vile Pheasant shooting ‘season’ has started

Dead pheasants hung from a railing

With barely a press release or salivating media article, the pheasant shooting ‘season’ has started again in the UK. Over the next few months (until 1st of February) the countryside will echo with unwanted and upsetting reminders that birds are dying in vast numbers. It’s opened in marked contrast to the flurry of vapid puff […]

The grouse shooting industry’s ‘illusion of truth’

Hen Harrier

“141 hen harrier chicks fledge as encouraging population growth recorded” (Natural England). “Record high for Hen harrier population in England” (Moorland Association). “Another record year for hen harriers as 141 chicks fledge in England” (BASC). “Population of Hen Harrier in England experiences boom” (Hexham Courant). “Hen harrier chick numbers grow for seventh year in a […]

The Welsh government could be subsidising the largest pheasant-rearing farm in the UK

Research by Animal Aid has found that the Welsh government may have subsidised the UK’s biggest pheasant-rearing farm. The pheasants are bred to be shot for ‘sport’. Bettws Hall game farm raises raises more than 1.7 million pheasant and partridge chicks a year, which it sells to shooting estates to be killed for ‘fun’. On […]

Scotland: Avian Flu confirmed in pheasants

Dead pheasants Cornwood shoot

On August 11th, the day before the ‘Inglorious 12th’ and the start of grouse shooting, we reported that a case of highly-infectious Avian Flu had been detected in a Red Grouse. Given how Red Grouse are bred to create a ‘surplus’ for shooting (in other words, bred at far denser population levels than would occur […]

An eleven-year-old boy suffers life-changing injuries during a shoot

On 31 August an eleven-year-old boy was shot in a woodland in East Sussex. His life-changing injuries are a stark reminder of how dangerous the shooting industry can be. Sky News reported that: “During the incident, the boy suffered a serious, potentially life-changing wound to his hip and was airlifted to hospital in London, according […]

Punching a horse is atrocious, but so is murdering fox cubs

Most people reading Protect the Wild already know this, but it bears being said. The media circus around Sarah Moulds highlights Britain’s broken relationship with other animals. When Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs filmed Moulds attacking a horse in November 2021, the footage went far and wide. Not only across anti-hunting social media but across the headlines […]

Evil brothers buried charity cyclist in stink pit on shooting estate

Last week the Daily Record reported that a speeding drunk-driver, Alexander McKellar, 31, had pleaded guilty to causing the death of charity cyclist Tony Parsons by hitting the 63-year-old with his vehicle on the A82 near Bridge of Orchy, Argyll and Bute (Scotland), on September 29, 2017. He and his twin brother Robert McKellar both […]

World’s tiniest violin plays for shooting industry

Last week Yahoo News reposted a Daily Telegraph puff piece for the shooting industry which ran with the headline, “Gamekeepers face ruin after last-minute change to licences.” Lamenting a normally supine government for actually (finally) recognising the terrible threat of Avian Flu to wild bird populations and that protected areas ought to be – you […]

Chris Packham’s succesful libel case is a win for everyone

Chris Packham speaking at Hen Harrier Day 2016

Chris Packham has won his libel case against Country Squire Magazine. However, the good news has come at the cost of Packham’s safety as the naturalist said he now lives with the constant threat of intimidation and violence. Packham’s case began on 2 May at the High Court in London. It accused editor Dominic Wightman, […]

Avian Flu: RSPB calls for ban on bird releases by shooting industry

“To help limit the catastrophic spread of Avian Influenza, the RSPB is calling for an immediate moratorium on the release of captive-bred gamebirds and Mallards for shooting in the UK this year. The call is for the UK and devolved governments and the shooting industry to take a precautionary approach to limit the spread of […]

“Sickened”: Hen Harrier had head pulled off while still alive

Natural England (whose useless scheme to boost populations of the rare Hen Harrier has been slammed repeatedly by conservationists) says it is “sickened by evidence of persecution” of Hen Harriers after a staggering twenty of the rare birds ‘went missing’ from areas managed for grouse shooting in northern England in the past year. Hen Harrier […]

Thanks to the shooting industry, your dog’s food might cause lead posioning

Dead pheasants hung from a railing

A new study into lead shot has confirmed what we already know – it’s creating toxicity in foods that reach supermarket shelves. But this study shows that it has affected dog food too. On 3 May, environmental research journal Ambio published a study into the levels of lead found in commercial dog food. Headed up […]

Avian Flu forces lockdown of largest pheasant rearing farm in UK

Avian Flu protection zones have been imposed around a massive pheasant and partridge breeding farm in north Powys. The family-owned Bettws Hall Game Farm, near Bettws Cedewain, which describes itself as ‘a market leader in the production of pheasant and partridge chicks and poults in the UK‘, says it raises more than 1.7m pheasant and […]

Family cat found dead in garden, a snare around his neck

Tigger the cat, who was found dead in a neighbour's garden with a snare around his neck

Tigger, a domestic cat, died after a snare caught him around the neck. He was found in his family’s neighbour’s garden. But the RSPCA believe he actually died elsewhere. Tigger’s body was found on 11 April in Netherhall, on the outskirts of Leicester. A snare had pulled tight around his neck. However, Leicestershire Live reported […]

Chris Packham’s fundraiser highlights how wildlife killers try to operate in secret

Chris Packham speaking at Hen Harrier Day 2016

Chris Packham is taking legal action against hunting and shooting industry media platform Fieldsports Channel. And you can donate to help him pursue the case in the courts. Unknown persons have targetted Chris Packham in recent years with a series of unsavoury acts. Someone strung dead crows up on his gate, for example, just months […]

Wales is holding a public consultation on licensing parts of the shooting industry

Red-legged partridge pokes their head out of long grass

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking the public for its thoughts on new regulation for releasing pheasants, partridges and other ‘non-native’ birds killed by the shooting industry. At present, there are regulations around the release of birds inside Wales’ sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs). However, beyond those areas, there is almost no regulatory oversight. […]

Join protests against a shooting estate where snares have trapped dogs

National Anti-Snaring Campaign (NASC) is launching a series of protests to highlight the ubiquity of snaring on a West Sussex shooting estate. NASC announced that it is planning to hold a series of protests at Arundel Castle, West Sussex, beginning on 1 April. The group will hold further protests on 7, 15, 22 and 28 […]

I want you to help us bring down the bird shooting industry

If you find yourself reading this, it’s likely you’re anti fox hunting. Maybe you’ve watched our ‘Trail of Lies’ animation or came across one of our undercover investigations. Or perhaps you signed one of our online petitions or donated to a crowd funder. However, what’s less likely is your position on bird shooting and whether […]

Woodcock petition debate: through the looking glass with the shooting lobby

On the 27th of February, Parliament debated petition 619615 ‘Limit the shooting season of Woodcock‘, which was launched by Wild Justice and signed by 107, 916 members of the public. The petition asked that the (so-called) shooting season for Woodcock, a species in serious decline here, should be moved back from 01 October (it starts […]

New review shows pheasants are still riddled with lead despite industry promises

A new study reveals that the shooting industry has done almost nothing to reduce lead in shotgun pellets. The finding comes half-way through an industry pledge to voluntarily reduce lead by 2025. The Conservation Evidence Journal published a review on 27 February led by Rhys Green of the Environmental Research Institute and Cambridge University. The […]

DARTMOOR: camping ban and pheasant shooting

Dartmoor protest

On Saturday 21 January, Protect the Wild joined more than 3,000 people marching in protest on Dartmoor after a pheasant-shooting millionaire took action to prevent wild camping. Hedge fund manager Alexander Darwall, who owns the 4,000-acre Blachford Estate on Dartmoor, brought the case against Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA). The high court ruled in his […]

Raptor persecution: if we think ‘shooting’ first who can blame us?

The recent discovery of the bodies of five dead young Goshawks dumped in a wood in Suffolk drew an instant response that shooting estates and their gamekeeper employees were likely to be involved. That feeling was compounded by x-rays that showed shotgun pellets in all five birds. Shooting lobbyists like BASC (the British Association of […]

Banning Snares: a parliamentary debate in name only

On January 9th MPs gathered in a room in Westminster Hall to debate e-petition 600593, which as the 102,616 people who signed it will remember was a demand by Animal Aid that “The Government should prohibit the sale, use and manufacture of free-running snares under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, putting them in the […]

The Scottish government’s advisory group just came out strongly for a snare ban

Snare found at Hilborough Estate

Snares are cruel and indiscriminate, raising “significant welfare concerns”, an advisory board to the Scottish government has just announced. As a result, the board is recommending a blanket snare ban in Scotland. On 9 December, the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) published its position paper on using snares to trap wildlife. The evaluation was based […]

The government has finally given a date to debate a ban on snares

Free-running snare

Government ministers will debate a ban on snares following a successful petition. The news comes just weeks after the Welsh Assembly agreed to outlaw snares throughout Wales. The UK government recently announced that it will undertake a debate on criminalising free-running snares on 9 January 2023. It is the result of a petition on the […]

To survive we have to change the narrative

burning grouse moor UK

Headline statistics from the 2022 Biodiversity Conference (or COP15), which starts in Montreal today, are shocking. Over 1 million species are on the brink of extinction (an under-estimate as no-one knows how many species there actually are).  Species are dying off at a frequency rate 1,000 times higher than before the arrival of humans. Wildlife […]

Protect the Wild End Shooting

end bird shooting

A few weeks ago Keep the Ban became Protect the Wild. Our change is far more than just a re-brand. While foxes and enforcing the ban on foxhunting will always remain a key focus, with Protect the Wild we are expanding what we do. Part of that will see us bringing our drive, our commitment […]

RSPB Investigations Officer: Reflections on a poisoning

Styrchine baited pheasant weeting norfolk

RSPB Investigations Officer: Reflections on a poisoning “Another issue that keeps rearing its head is the lack of any consequences for Stroud’s employers.” On 5 October 2022 gamekeeper Matthew Stroud was convicted of a long list of offences at Norwich Magistrates Court including killing protected birds – yet he escaped a prison sentence. Now Tom […]

Woodock shooting: MPs say Defra didn’t respond to government petition

dead woodcock

Woodock shooting: MPs say Defra didn’t respond to government petition. Back in early July, the campaigning group Wild Justice (set up by Dr Mark Avery, Dr Ruth Tingay, and Chris Packham) launched a petition asking Defra (the government department responsible for the environment) to look at shortening the so-called’ season’ in which shooters are allowed […]

Hen Harriers and greenwashing

Hen Harrier

Hen Harriers and greenwashing – the shooting industry avoids clamping down on persecution   Thousands of pages have been written about Natural England’s ‘fix’ for the ongoing illegal persecution of Hen Harriers on grouse shooting moors, but as not everybody has read them it’s perhaps worth a quick recap in light of yet another attempt […]

Mass grave of pheasants found on Duke of Somerset’s land

corpses of pheasants in a pit on duke of somersets land

Protesters on the Duke of Somerset’s land stumbled across a mass grave packed with the corpses of pheasants this May. Protect the Wild joined hundreds of activists to take part in a mass trespass close to the duke’s Berry Pomeroy castle. The action was part of the wider Right To Roam campaign for greater access […]