Here are a few quotes from the paper;
Since I am known for campaigning for a ban on driven grouse shooting, I should be clear that I am not in favour of banning Pheasant shooting.
Pheasants are naturalised in all European countries except Iceland. The European population, as measured in spring by national bird monitoring schemes, is around four million pairs of which c. 1.85 million (46%) are found in the UK.
Some 43 million Pheasants (almost all poults about nine weeks old, but with a very small proportion of adult birds from breeding stock) are released into the UK countryside in late summer (GWCT 2018a).
… if we had never seen a Common Pheasant in the UK, and a proposal was made to release 43 million medium-sized omnivorous birds into the countryside, would it be nodded through without murmur? I think not, because we would be concerned about the potential impacts. (Far) more paperwork is needed to release a few individuals of a native species such as the White-tailed Eagle into the UK than to release 43 million non-native Pheasants each year. I suggest that we would put plenty of barriers in the way of such a massive release of non-native birds into the countryside if the situation had not crept up on us. This illustrates the lack of regulation of shooting in the UK.
We need more information on some of the concerns that are highlighted above. Who should investigate the issues? …. Perhaps government will do so but, in response to a FOI request in 2014, Defra stated: ‘Defra has not assessed the impact of releasing pheasants or red-legged partridges on biodiversity and is not currently planning any research in this area due to other biodiversity research priorities’.
To my mind, there are two areas where we need no further research but instead action from government: the scale of releases and the use of lead ammunition.
More on this subject through the week.
But do have a listen to this podcast recorded with Charlie Moores on Lush radio – I think it is quite a good 30-minute listen.