In August 2022, during the international Avian Flu crisis and a national heatwave, HIT documented the plight of pheasants and red-legged partridges in and around release pens on a shooting estate in Derbyshire.
Acting upon reports from walkers at Highlow, near Hathersage in the Peak District, HIT found shocking scenes in and around release pens:
• Numerous dead birds left in and around pens and on public footpaths
• Dead birds’ bodies left to attract flies and even cannibalism by other birds
• Live and dead birds trapped in pen fencing/netting at two sites
• Sick and/or injured birds left to roam and die, exposed during a national heatwave and the international Avian Flu crisis
• An apparent total disregard for the welfare of individual birds and wider wildlife in the area
The pheasant and partridge shooting industry is under increasing scrutiny from many angles, including shocking animal cruelty issues evidenced in hatcheries and the devastating ecological impacts of mass-releasing commercially-reared “gamebirds” into the countryside.
Gamekeepers representing the industry might be expected to show more responsibility and care in their work, particularly with additional current concerns about the highly contagious and lethal Avian Flu outbreak.
Yet once again, HIT have shown the apparent arrogance and negligence of gamekeepers in our national parks. These pheasants and partridges have been released in appalling conditions, to suffer individually and potentially threaten the health of other local species. The pheasants and partridges who survive will be shot when the season begins in October. Yet again, the Peak District is a site of bloodsports carnage and cruelty.
These are the scenes the shooting industry do not want you to see. We thank the walkers who alerted us to this estate and we urge people to continue monitoring all shooting estates closely and carefully.
The Highlow Estate is situated near Hathersage, with pens sited at:
• Highlow Brook woodland – SK217795
• Moorland south of Highlow Brook – SK219795 area
• Woodland – SK218798
• Dunge Brook area – SK218803
• Mill Wood eastern boundary – SK217797
And others! Please keep a close eye on this estate and report any signs of wildlife crime and cruelty. Follow Keep The Ban for campaigns on all UK bloodsports.