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Undercover footage shot at a game farm in Somerset shows distressed wild birds caught in a trap in an example of how the shooting industry destroys wildlife.
Wild birds including are caught in the traps, then killed by a gamekeeper – as these birds are blamed for any reduction in the numbers of game birds produced for bloodsports participants to slaughter during the shooting season.
The traps should be checked ‘at least once every day, at intervals of no more than 24 hours’ by law, but Animal Aid claims the trap was not inspected for almost 35 hours – leaving a bird without water for 24-hours after he kicked over ‘the totally unsuitable water dish in his cage’.
“The traps usually contain one bird in a compartment, whose distressed cries attract other birds into another compartment of the trap,” said Animal Aid.
“The trapped birds are then killed by the gamekeeper. In this case, there were two traps set side by side. One trap had a single decoy bird in a compartment. The other trap had three birds crammed together in the decoy compartment.
“The film uses a speeded-up timer to demonstrate the amount of time the crows are left in the Larsen trap. It is not known how long they had already been in the trap, nor how much longer they were confined. What is clear, however, is that the birds were stressed, and desperate to be released.”
‘Filmmaker had an agenda’
Nicholas Pardoe, who runs the farm and is chairman of the Game Farmers Association, told The Independent: “The farm is private property and the video was made without permission, which is an offense, and as such would not be able to stand as evidence in a court of law.
“Whilst there is a clock in the corner of the screen, there is no way of knowing it is set accurately or that it indeed shows the correct passage of time. The video is heavily edited and does not amount to proof of any offense.
“There is clear intent that the bird should have water, evidenced by the presence of a water bowl. No bird was shown to die or even to have become weak. The filmmaker clearly has an agenda, which is to stop the use of Larsen traps. The video was taken some time ago, and this is the first I have heard of it.
“If they really had animal welfare concerns, they should have raised them with me or a member of my staff at the time, or even reported it to the relevant authorities, rather than releasing a film a few months later.”