My reply to the previous post was soooo long that it needed a post all by itself!
Yes, Danielle, I have opened a can of worms and a risky one at that, as I really wouldn't want to offend my blogging friends. I agree that we should be able to share our views at the same time as respecting each other's opinions.
I agree with what you say, Jasmine, with regard to farmers who intensively breed game birds and I know that the cost of shooting is very high for the townies who like to play at it. There were one or two things that I had reservations about, but the welfare of the birds and surrounding wildlife was not a problem. The Farmer I went out with keeps his birds in large enclosures, protected from foxes by electric wire. When the birds are able to fly high enough to escape the enclosure, then he feels they are able to get themselves out of danger. He doesn't release them in one great mass just before a shoot, he lets them range where they will, and so give them a chance to fend for themselves. It's not a case of shooting dumb, senseless birds without a clue, and I was glad to see that many did go their own sweet way on Saturday and we also saw a great many deer and foxes too.
Saying that, he is a businessman and does make money from raising game birds, but the time and effort that he puts into the job is just about covered. I would much rather he, and farmers like him, protect our countryside and use it as it has been for many hundreds of years, than to see the land fall into the hands of the developers, which is a huge problem in our particular county.
Personally, I wouldn't have anything to do with anyone whose ethical values weren't as high as mine, but how can we be sure that the farmers selling to the Supermarkets stick to the claims they make? I bought two hens from a farm that supplies free range eggs to Waitrose and they were most definitely not free range! They were in an equal state to the ex-batts that I've rehomed in the past!
I didn't really want to sound like I'm defending my decision to take my daughter shooting, but I do want to point out that not all farmers are the villains. I appreciate the care that you put into your reply, Jasmine, and I feel that my views are very close to yours. This wasn't a decision I took lightly and after an evening of mammoth plucking and gutting, I've half a mind to rush out to the butcher in future, but I know that I won't and I'll do the same thing again!