I would like to take issue with the view expressed by Andrew Taylor (Let’s ban ‘sport shooting’, letters October 4)
I would start by agreeing that pheasant rearing in its present form is not a cost effective method of food production but then no one undertakes running a shoot with a view to making a profit through the sale of the birds.
If profit from the sale of dead birds were the only consideration, a method of ‘factory farming’ would need to be adopted thus depriving the pheasants of ever knowing the freedom of the open wood and the chance to multiply in the wild, something I feel Mr Taylor would find even more distasteful.
By the way, in my view, the price of pheasant from the butchers is seriously undervalued for such a tasty and healthy meat, but perhaps this is because of public awareness.
A well-run pheasant rearing operation has the wellbeing of its birds at the centre of its ethos at all times. The birds are slowly adapted to life in the wild at various stages and are not just turned out in the wood to fend for themselves immediately on release. In fact throughout the harshest winter months, a well-run shoot will supply a constant source of food for the birds, which, by the way, also benefits other wild birds at a crucial time.
I hope that this pursuit, which has been carried out for centuries in this country, can continue benefitting the countryside through its management (planting game cover, clearing woodland paths etc) employment of people as well as the dining tables of the well informed.