Where is shooting vulnerable?

  • While many of us have come together to ‘protect the wild’ bird shooting is purely selfish and serves no common good. We will work to counter the ‘conservation’ greenwashing the industry employs.
  • It uses birds as live targets. That shouldn’t be allowed. Non-animal shooting is now available, replicating the so-called ‘thrill’ of shooting, as well as target shooting or clay pigeons.
  • How can it be right that  species are protected by law one day, but from the start of a ‘shooting season’ anyone with a gun can go and kill them?
  • The modern bird shooting industry is no more about ‘tradition’‘ or ‘sport’ than is foxhunting. Similarly, it is, though, about violence, cruelty, and an unmerited sense of entitlement.
  • Releasing tens of millions of non-native pheasants and partridges into the countryside, manipulating whole moorland ecosystems to rear unnaturally high numbers of grouse, is not (as it claims) ‘sustainable’.
  • Shooting ignored pleas to not to release millions of birds in the face of the worst Avian Flu crisis ever to hit the UK, which ravaged wild bird populations. Within weeks Avian Flu was found in pheasants.
  • Shooting is clearly underpinned by wildlife crime, especially the illegal persecution of birds of prey and illegal trap use. Shooters choose to do nothing even when it is directly pointed out to them. That means they are often colluding in these crimes. If not actively colluding shooters still benefit from wildlife crime because these crimes mean more live birds to shoot at.
  • When it comes to so-called ‘predator control’ shooting has no exit strategy. The killing of our native predators will just continue for ever. This is scientifically illiterate. (see ‘Why Shooting must have a ‘predator control’ exit strategy‘)
  • Shooting doesn’t even keep public records of how many predators it kills. We have no clue of the damage shooting may be causing to mammal populations, many of which, like the weasel, are in serious decline. We think it should.
  • Shooting insists on the continued use of lead shot, a known environmental toxin, firing it across sensitive landscapes. It must be banned. Voluntary restrictions on its use have failed.
  • It takes very little account of the declines in many bird populations. Shooters are still killing declining species like Red-listed Woodcock and Amber-listed Common Snipe.
  • It takes no account of climate change on bird populations. Montane ecosystems and damp woodland ecosystems are especially impacted by climate change, yet shooters are still killing birds that depend on these ecosystems and are (often) declining.
  • It uses archaic, depersonalising language like ‘gamebird’, ‘bag’, ‘quarry’ and loaded, value-laden terms like ‘vermin’ and ‘pest’.
  • The industry operates in secrecy on vast estates with little public access. No-one knows how many traps are laid, how many animals are caught, or how many crimes are committed. There is an ‘omerta’ of silence on estates. That must be changed.
  • Its supporters can be incredibly hostile on social media regularly using extremely sexist and violent language, calling for popular and well-loved naturalists like Chris Packham to be ‘hung’ or ‘put down’.
  • Shooting continually tries to make out this is a ‘country vs town’ debate. This is simply not accurate. Many people who live in the countryside are sick of the noise, the cruelty, the traps and snares, the loss of access to woodlands and more.
  • The normal rules don’t seem to apply. Shooting floods the countryside with non-native birds just so that they can be shot. The release of non-native species is normally strictly controlled. What makes shooting so special?
  • The taxpayer is funding shotgun licences. In 2023 many people are having to choose whether to ‘eat or heat’ – it’s absurd that we taxpayers are still subsidising shotgun licences.
  • Perhaps most damning of all, if shooting didn’t exist but was proposed now it would never be allowed. Imagine suggesting that an industry built on killing millions of birds should be set up in one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. It would never happen.

The killing must stop. Most of us love wildlife and want to live in a kinder, more compassionate world – one that shooting increasingly doesn’t fit into