The Hunt Saboteurs Association can reveal the awful conditions at one of the UK’s largest game farms. At Hy Fly, located in the Lancashire town of Preesall near Fleetwood, tens of thousands of pheasants and partridges used for breeding are confined to tiny wire cages to supply the shooting industry with birds to be used as live targets. The scale of the cruelty is hard to comprehend with Hy Fly boasting of producing up to 1.5 million pheasants, partridges and mallards per week. Thousands of red legged partridges are held in barren cages around the size of an A2 piece of paper, with two birds in each.
The pheasants have cruel plastic ‘masks’ clamped onto their beaks, in an attempt to stop the birds pecking at each other caused by the extreme stress of captivity in a wire cage. The female birds also have brails fitted to their wings to restrict movement and make it impossible to fly any real distance should they escape. As well as this, many of the female pheasants have their back feathers ripped out due to the fact that they are unable to escape the constant mating attempts by the males in their cage.
In 2017, Hy Fly culled a staggering 10,000 pheasants at their farm following an outbreak of bird flu. In December that year, the HSA exposed the International Gundog League Retriever Championship taking place at the factory farm at which intensively reared birds were gunned down to ‘test’ the dogs.
The shooting industry is in huge turmoil due to the coronavirus crisis, with 30% of shoots cancelling their 2020/21 season completely and only 17.5% of shoots planning to operate a full schedule next season. The shoots that are continuing are reducing the number of birds they release by an average of 35%. Despite this, however, huge numbers of pheasants and partridges are currently suffering within game farms and the HSA is committed to seeing an end to this horrific industry.