This is the full exposé of the Cotesbach Game Ltd shooting investigation

A coalition of anti-hunt and anti-badger cull activists (Hunt Saboteurs Association, Stop the Cull and West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs), have come together to use their expertise with covert filming, to reveal a dump of pheasants killed at a game shoot. 

In 2013 it was estimated that a shocking 10,000 ton of pheasants were being dumped every year, that was based on 15 million birds being killed. Savills Game Shooting review last year indicated a much lower price per bird shot, we believe this reflects the huge increase in numbers of birds being shot over the last 5 years.

This was a year long investigation of Cotesbach Game Ltd. The pheasant dump was found near Newton Lane just outside of Rugby. The investigation found that there was cruelty involved in every aspect of the the shooting industry from the moment the birds are born right up until they are killed. The birds are bred in factory farm conditions and many die from over breeding and overcrowding. Plastic “bits” are clamped through their beaks to prevent cannibalism caused by the stress of overcrowding.

About 50 million of these non-native birds are bred each year to be shot at more than 5,000 shoots.

It’s not just the game birds who suffer, gamekeepers employed by shoots trap, snare and shoot many native species to protect the game birds. This includes foxes, small mammals and other birds such as corvids and birds of prey. Larsen Traps used to trap and kill corvids were designed by a Danish gamekeeper in the 1950s but are now banned in Denmark because of their cruelty.

Once the pheasants have been shot they are then dumped in mass open graves. The number of pheasants killed is so vast that heavy machinery is need to dump them into the pit.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs said

“The shooting industry is coming under increasing scrutiny and ultimately we would like to see a complete ban. Until then we will continue to put the cruelty of the shooting industry under the spotlight with investigations like this.”

Jay Tiernan, spokesperson for Stop the Cull said:

 “From watching and listening to people involved in game shooting, it has become obvious that very few people within the industry are prepared to accept that the majority of birds being shot are not making it to the table. Perhaps it is a guilty secret? Whatever the reasoning, it is something that anti bloodsports activists are particularly interested in exposing. Small hidden cameras are becoming cheaper and easier to use, so those involved in the industry should expect to come under closer and closer scrutiny by activists, and in turn by the wider public. Whilst no one in the grassroots animal rights community would condone any killing of game birds, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the big bag shoots (where hundreds of birds are shot per day) are the main perpetrators of this heinous waste of life. It certainly can’t be said, when killing a pheasant on these now common large scale shoots, that it’s “one for the pot”.”

Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, stated: 

“This footage proves the lie that shooting has anything to do with conservation.  Game birds are factory farmed in huge numbers purely to be shot in big bag shoots.  Shooting is a bloodsport and nothing more. As we receive more and more information about them via our tip off line we expect disruption of shoots by local hunt saboteur groups to increase.”