Wednesday, 16 December 2009


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!


PG said...

I think life's a bit more complicated than just blanket labelling all farmers/landowners as baddies. And I also think that what you do is your own business and good for you for sticking to your guns. As it were. x

Yarrow said...

Thank you Gretel :)

Bovey Belle said...

One of my neighbours supplies FR organic eggs to Waitrose. His hens go for the chop at a year old (company policy), his organic feed comes all the way from Azerbaijan - so much for air miles and locally sourced - and my son, who worked at this farm before this particular neighbour moved here and bought it, was not complimentary about the way the hens lived. Having had some of the "spare" eggs since the changeover, ones which didn't make the grade, I can honestly say their stained shells came from laying around in droppings as they had been tainted. All this going on behind the scenes of FR organic eggs which people buy thinking they have the best possible and ethical lives. So you can see why your FR hens looked in a bad way.

There are several shoots in this area. One privately run one on the farm next door to ours, and very conscienciously managed. I know intimately the background to this one, as we are friendly with the chaps, they shoot across our land, they have feed creeps on our land and I regularly walk past their rearing pens on the adjacent farm. No snares are used as they go out regularly with their working dogs and shotguns and keep the predators under control (we have plenty of mink and polecats hereabouts).

However, the bigger shoots which charge mega-bucks per gun, are a different matter I believe. They say money is the root of all evil . . .

At least you are prepared to stand up for what you believe in and you know where your food comes from.

Yarrow said...

Thanks BB, there are good and bad it's true and my farmer friend does charge for visitors, and probably quite a lot too. But he doesn't compromise on the welfare of the birds or wildlife, which is great and farmers like him need to be encouraged.

I guessed about the handling of my 'free range' hens, especially as their damage was consistent with barn reared if not battery hens.