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Wealthy hunters are giving thousands of killed birds to food banks in Britain

Donating the meat is aimed at improving the image of grouse hunting.

Image: Shutterstock/Graham Braid

HUNDREDS OF BIRDS shot by hunters on some of Britain’s most exclusive estates have been given to food charities in a new initiative that plans to make it the norm for landowners to donate their game.

Since the start of the game season on August 12, 2,600 portions of grouse shot by hunters have been distributed to food banks and community projects by meals charity FareShare.

“By taking this food, we made sure it found a ‘good home’ and benefited people who struggle to feed themselves and their families,” said a spokeswoman for the charity.

Hunted

Grouse are wild birds with striking plumage that are often hunted on moorland in the expensive pursuit, opposed by some environmentalists due to damage to landscape.

Donating the meat to charity is aimed to improve the image of grouse hunting, which has been called the “sport of kings” and can cost over £30,000 (€43,000) for a team of hunters for a day, making it a hobby pursued mainly by Britain’s wealthiest executives and aristocrats.

“We want to make this part of game shooting culture,” Ian Gregory, one of the organisers of the initiative dubbed Game Share told the Daily Telegraph.

We are trying to add the good cause to the good meal so that people see the social responsibility.

Gregory hopes to expand the practice further to make it the norm for birds to go to charity, arguing that the game is lean and healthy and more ethically produced by the chicken normally received by charities.

“Many traditional landowners have been helping charities with game food for years. The charities recognise that it is lean, high in protein and much more ethically produced than the chicken they also receive,” Gregory told the Sunday Times.

Food banks, which have grown vastly during the financial crisis and austerity, are traditionally stocked with canned food, soups and pasta.

According to The British Association for Shooting and Conservation some 20 million game birds and wildfowl were killed in hunts in the UK between 2012 and 2013, including 13 million pheasants and 4.4 million partridges.

Just under two thirds of edible creatures shot were eaten by the hunters or given to friends, while 35% was sold, according to BASC. In all 3% was fed to dogs or discarded.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: Food Bank centre reacts to a new reality – a new poverty>

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