READERS may be shocked to learn that every year in Britain, more than 45 million pheasants and partridges are mass-produced to serve as feathered targets for wealthy ‘guns’.

This bloody and brutal end to their lives is the final insult. From birth, they are confined in cages, sheds and pens, in which disease and death are a daily feature.

Many birds, frightened and stressed, are fitted with devices that restrict their vision and prevent them from pecking their cage-mates. About half the released birds die before they can be gunned down.

They perish from exposure, starvation, disease or predation, or under the wheels of motor vehicles.

Only a fraction of the shot birds are eaten – even pro-shooting magazines have reported that many are buried in specially-dug holes.

Killing animals for fun has no place in a civilised society.

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