March 5, 2016 | 12:56 pm
When it comes to blood sports, game bird shooting has got to be about as humane as it gets, right? The birds have a happy life roaming free before being shot as they fly, then they're eaten.
Wrong. More than 30 million pheasants and partridges are bred to be released into the wild in the
each year —
and undercover research by the charity League Against Cruel Sports
(LACS) published last week has revealed they are often bred in
battery-like conditions. The massive quantity of birds released — around 14
million of which are killed annually — amounts to around 20 percent of UK 's total
wild bird population. Britain
Hundreds of thousands come from continental Europe as chicks or adolescent birds, enduring journeys so torrid that shipping company Brittany Ferries banned their transport between
late last year. Meanwhile, despite most of the shot birds ultimately being
eaten, they are classified by the Britain government as sporting animals
rather than livestock, so normal farming welfare standards do not apply. UK
A new report by LACS presented to British parliament late last month highlighted the harrowing conditions seen in the trade, with egg-laying game hens kept in the sort of confinement that has been made illegal for farmed chickens. The charity has launched a campaign demanding a government inquiry into the industry.