Sunday, 10 February 2019

Discard - a thing rejected as no longer useful or desirable

I live in a very rural setting in the heart of Cheshire and have lived in the countryside all my life.  My passion for wildlife was fuelled by the the everyday birds, mammals and insects I would come across every time I walked out of my front door; but my commitment to campaign about environmental issues was also fuelled by the things I have seen in the countryside (sometimes within walking distance from home and sometimes further afield), inexcusable things.

Several pheasant shoots take place in the surrounding area, and during the season I can hear the shots being fired.

A few weeks ago there was a post on our village Facebook page. The post described a fly tipping incident on a track that leads to the river and it also included the following picture:

I had to see this for myself to understand the scale of the situation. As I approached, I could see the large blue plastic bags and I already knew what was in them.

According to the Facebook post, the bags were originally wrapped in a carpet to hide the contents, but once the carpet had been removed I counted about 30 shot pheasants. 30 pheasants that had been shot for pleasure and then dumped by the side of a country track that families use frequently as they walk to the river.  

But that was not all.  There were also some black bin bags in the mix. Again I had to look, so I opened the bin bags and found the bodies of two Canada Geese. 

According to an 2016 article in Shooting UK, approximately 35 million game birds, mostly non-native pheasants, are released each year.   They are farmed and then many are shot for sport.  Some will eventually be eaten, but clearly not all of them.  The number of social media posts I see about stink pits and fly tipping of shot birds is alarming. Birds shot for pleasure and then simply discarded.

Discard - a thing rejected as no longer useful or desirable.

There are so many dark sides to the shooting industry, but his total waste of life (in the name of sport)  in unjustifiable.  This is not an acceptable part of rural life.  The outrage and disgust on the Facebook post from the local community was clear to see. 

I would be very interested to hear from the shooting community regarding their thoughts on how we can all tackle this.  Regardless of my thoughts on shooting, I am not for a minute suggesting that this discard practise is something carried out by all shoot organisers, but it is widespread within their industry and they have to literally clean up their act.


  1. Hari OM
    Findlay, you bring to light the absolute decadance and arrogance which goes with this 'sport' ... You are such a fine advocate, I am sure you will bring this to the attention of those who matter. I also think, though, that the wider public needs to be made aware. In the end it is the weight of opinion which brings about change - as I am certain you know! YAM xx

  2. Plus lots of land would have been intensively farmed to provide feed for these birds. Hardly protecting the land for conservation!

    1. Actually Les, they will almost certainly have been fed on the tailings (discards) from the cereal crops grown on the estates. At least, that's what they do locally to me in Wiltshire. What's more: locally they are happy to donate tailings to feeding farmland birds for a number of local conservation projects.

      Don't misunderstand, I am opposed to this wasteful industry, I think pheasant and partridge could be farmed for the table, without lead poisoning or ecological imbalance and carcass dumping, but best to get the details right.

  3. Thank you for your post. It is just horrible how these shoots behave, as though life is not precious at all. These birds are raised as a commodity, just for the pleasure of some idiot with a gun to shoot at, not even eaten. They are raised in quantities to vast for shoots to actually shoot and eat them all. It's like some pathetic industry of death. I have no time for the shooters, or the estates that make money out of them, they are an abomination to the countryside and to people who love wildlife. I am not a tree or bunny hugger, but have been a country woman near all my life, before I get some jumped up twit who likes to kill things telling me I don't know about the countryside.

  4. Dear Findlay,

    You mentioned that you would like to hear from the shooting community on the issue of dumping of gamebirds.

    I would be happy to help ensure that this has been reported to Cheshire West and Chester Council for investigation, if it has not already been confirmed reported by someone in the local community Facebook discussion.

    I would also be interested in taking up your offer of discussion/sharing views on how we can tackle the dumping of gamebirds either on the telephone or face to face if you wish.

    Best wishes,

    Dr Conor O'Gorman
    Head of Policy and Campaigns
    British Association for Shooting and Conservation
    Tel: 01244 573 000 or email conor.ogorman(at)

    1. Hi Conor
      Thank you for your reply. I will email you later this week.

  5. This is wrong on so many levels. It's also complex - but a simple thing must be, if you are going to kill them, do something productive with them - like eat them! And maybe, don't kill them in the first place.

    Stewart M - Melbourne