A pheasant graveyard

The war between peasants and pheasants continues.

Some people from Totnes, in Devon, went out for a picnic in the woods.

[T]he Duke of Somerset owns much of the area’s woodlands, and they remain largely off-limits to the public because they are used for a large pheasant shoot.

The Duke owns 2,800 acres of land in some of the most beautiful areas of Devon, but the vast majority of it is inaccessible to the public. This is despite the fact he has received funds for the woodland the protesters picnicked in under the English Woodland Grant Scheme, which comes from taxpayer money.

Yes but owning huge tracts of land is what being a duke is all about. Nobody gonna make you a duke if all you own is a little semi with a garden.

This walk in the woods was illegal because there is no right to roam in England’s countryside. In Scotland, visitors have a right to visit green spaces, and it is agreed they should pass through respectfully and not leave a mess.

Those on the protest made a point of picking up litter in the woods, which are used chiefly for pheasant breeding and shooting. Plastic cartridges and piles of pheasant feathers littered the floor, and in a valley visible from the field the protesters picnicked, there was a “pheasant graveyard”, with at least 100 bird carcasses dumped alongside an old washing machine and a pile of wire fence.

Carcasses! Dumped?! That bit surprised me. I thought they ate them. It seems the dukes and dukelings raise them to be killed for the sheer fun of it. I find that disgusting.

Large swathes of private woodlands remain out of bounds to walkers, with estate owners using them instead for releasing and shooting pheasants, a non-native species of game bird. An estimated 50 million pheasants are released into the British countryside every year – equivalent in weight to the total biomass of wild birds in Britain.

All just for target practice. It’s breathtakingly stupid.

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