Countryside pursuits of game shoots and hunting have divided the nation for years, with animal rights activists and advocates of the gentleman’s sport at constant loggerheads.
But a fresh row has erupted after an unexpected voice weighed into the argument, claiming that pheasant and partridge shoots were actually beneficial to wildlife.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), whose foundations were built on an endeavour to discourage the “wanton destruction of birds”, said the impact of managed shoots could be “very positive”.
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, posted a blog on the charity’s website defending aspects of the sport.
He said that some shoots “provide beneficial habitat management for wildlife” and often result in increased numbers of some birds.
Pheasants aren’t native to the UK and they are usually bred commercially.
It’s possible that they’ve been around long enough that they would survive without continually being bred in that commercial manner. But certainly not in the numbers we’ve currently got. So, yes, obviously, commercial shooting increases the numbers of birds.