11 January 2000
Anger over record bird shoot

TENS of thousands of farmers and gamekeepers are planning to take part in the biggest shoot of wild birds next month.

But animal welfare groups are already expressing fears that the shoot on 12 February could leave hundreds of birds wounded and left to die a slow and agonising death.

The RSPCA has also questioned the legality of the shoot, claiming the organisers are required by law to find other means of controlling the pests before they resort to shooting.

The National Gamekeepers Organisation has planned the shoot, partly to get rid of birds, which it says are damaging crops, and also in a show of strength with the Countryside Alliance.

It is thought that target species will include pigeons and crows.