Of course it bloody is

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.

18 thoughts on “Of course it bloody is”

  1. bloke (not) in spain

    I’ve a pal who’s a gamekeeper in Essex & he reckons less than a third of the pheasant chicks he stocks with will end up being shot on the estate. And that’s in an area where the birds are largely corralled in by the extensive tracts of housing surrounding the area.
    Don’t suppose reality or the opinions of the RSPB’ll carry much weight with the bunny huggers, though. Price the huntin, shootin ‘n fishin’ mob pay for their “Oh ya'”-ness. Wouldn’t be an issue in France or Spain or much of the rest of Europe, where killing stuff to eat is a normal pattern of behaviour for anyone with the wit to get themselves a gun or a rod & doesn’t require a title.

  2. I presume they mean that if posh people want to shoot pheasants then they need land on which to do it, land which might otherwise be concreted over for retail parks. Ergo, this is good for all wildlife except pigeons and magpies.

  3. Pheasants would soon die out without artificial replenishment.
    They are fed by the keeper being singularly useless at feeding themselves. They also don’t breed well and they nest on the ground. We don’t have enough remote territory to sustain a population.

    One also has to ask why we would want this? It’s like this idiot has never heard of the damage done to indigenous species by introduced ones (high irony). I think he’s anti science!

  4. BNIS your mate’s figures are broadly correct I think. The rest get taken by foxes or domestic cats, hit by cars, or starve. A few make it to the next year but not enough to sustain a population. If people like seeing cock pheasants cutting about the place they will have to accept shooting.

  5. bloke (not) in spain

    @Interested
    I gather it’s more; the rest dissipate themselves across rural Essex where shooters who don’t rear pheasant chicks get an opportunity to pot pheasant for the pot. Or that’s the grumbling into the tankard of Abbot, anyway.

  6. This has little to do with the rearing of pheasants as such; it’s more to do with estate management. The creating of ‘cover’ crops, copses, and the like, which benefit not just pheasants on pheasant shoots, but many other birds and wildlife too. And particularly well-managed moorland in Scotland for grouse, not to mention the culling of deer, whose numbers are increasing rapidly, thus mitigating some of the huge damage they do.

  7. It’s just bleeding’ obvious: if we didn’t eat lamb or use wool how many ba-lambs would be jumping about at Easter? To argue otherwise is cretinous.

  8. So Much for Subtlety

    Hunting saved the European bison. It is responsible for saving pretty much all the forest Britain has left.

    If pheasants, an introduced species that ought to be hunted without mercy otherwise, manage to save some forest and the rest of the wildlife because rich Yahoos want to shoot at them, then so much the better.

    We should thank our aristocrats for yet again making Britain a better place.

    Now we just need the RSPB to come out in favour of fox hunting.

  9. So Much for Subtlety

    dearieme – “It’s just bleeding’ obvious: if we didn’t eat lamb or use wool how many ba-lambs would be jumping about at Easter? To argue otherwise is cretinous.”

    Like chickens, turkeys, wheat, sweet corn and a lot of other farm organisms, I doubt many lambs would survive at all if it were not for human care. Sure they would probably do better than turkeys which can barely survive on their own in a shed. But I doubt they would survive for long. Even if they could arrange their own shearing.

  10. bloke (not) in spain

    “It’s just bleeding’ obvious: if we didn’t eat lamb or use wool how many ba-lambs would be jumping about at Easter? To argue otherwise is cretinous.”

    I’ve had the same argument with the anti-bull fighting crowd. The preferred number of bulls in any herd of cattle is one. Preferred by the bull, anyway. The fate of any other prospective bulls is to wander off with their intestines hanging round their ankles. So absent the plaza del torros & their big day after a short life of good grub it’s a shorter life, rough grazing but much the same ending.

  11. Bloke in Costa RIca

    Well, yes. If the vegans got their way the decline in the population of cows etc. would be catastrophic. They’d be confined to zoos, except the bloody lentil-munchers don’t like them either.

  12. Mountain ibex only survived because Victor Emmanuelli (a thoroughgoing shit and coincidentally a king) liked to shoot them.

    They have been reintroduced from the Gran Paradiso to such success that the frogs are considering relaxing their protected status.

    Meanwhile the reason why French wildlife survives is not because the hunting clubs are snobs. They are fiercely democratic, if you take a restricted franchise of owners of a square metre of land. It’s because after lunch none of them can shoot straight.

  13. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke (not) in spain – “The preferred number of bulls in any herd of cattle is one.”

    But the question is what is cruel from the bull’s perspective. Bulls may be happier, or at least less stressed, if they can fight it out mano-a-mano with the odd one having his guts torn out, than if we try to force them to all get along.

    But I am totally with you on bull fighting.

    Bloke in Costa RIca – “If the vegans got their way the decline in the population of cows etc. would be catastrophic. They’d be confined to zoos, except the bloody lentil-munchers don’t like them either.”

    We would end up like East Asia which has not had a long tradition of keeping much in the way of livestock except pigs, ducks and chickens. Except without the pigs, ducks and obviously chickens. I don’t think anyone would claim that the Chinese are notably kinder to animals because they don’t eat that many of them.

    bloke in france – “Mountain ibex only survived because Victor Emmanuelli (a thoroughgoing shit and coincidentally a king) liked to shoot them.”

    Another reason why the ban on bear baiting was a bad idea.

    “It’s because after lunch none of them can shoot straight.”

    One of the best government programmes ever was CAMPFIRE. Which was a US government effort to go down to villages in Africa and talk to the locals. Point out how much Westerners would pay to shoot their animals. Explain some basic biology to them. And have them decide, democratically, how many animals they wanted to keep around. The rest, they allowed rich Americans to shoot, for which they got paid. And they got to eat all the meat. The police then started to get a lot of tips about poaching. Democracy is not incompatible with sensible wildlife management. It is just harder.

    As with CAMPFIRE as the Greenies got Congress to end the scheme.

  14. Shooting peasants is a good idea. It keeps the aristocracy in trim in case some Wat Tyler appears on the scene.

  15. Does the UK have anything like Ducks Unlimited, which raises a lot of money for waterfowl habitat over here in Canada, the US and Mexico?

    We shoot far fewer ducks than we protect.

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