In the tide of events that affect human lives, homes plagued by pheasants which are then surrounded by people enjoying themselves trying to kill them, might be regarded as comparatively insignificant.
Yet, the mindset which fuels those people's behaviour could be seen as an exceedingly good analogy for man's selfish indifference to others and why laws are required to create a just society.
“Call me selfish if you wish, I don’t mind being called selfish.” said a Gun to the owner of the cottage where he had previously stood aiming at pheasants at the bottom of the garden.
Shooting - the shooting of pheasants, is legislated by the Game Act 1831 which specifies what can be shot, when pheasants cannot be shot and who could shoot them (subsequently revoked), but not, where they cannot be shot.
It is not unlawful in 21st century Britain for people to stand beside or around a home with loaded shot guns.
It is not unlawful to put pheasants so close to homes, they invade gardens, damage structures and disturb peoples lives.
It is not unlawful for those pheasants to be aimed at in such proximity, that their shot bodies land in or beside gardens.
Seemingly 21st century field sports culture thinks imposing such actions and ethics on other people in their homes is acceptable.
It is not possible, or easy, to discern where and therefore which homes are affected, because where tens of millions of pheasants are put each year and where people stand to shoot them is not in the public domain.
How would a potential purchaser of the home with an outlook in the above image, know come the autumn, instead of cows there will be people with guns?
If shoots insist on maintaining a right to shoot wherever they wish, rather than accept legal constraints on where shoots are situated and their proximity to homes: then information of where shoots are located should be publicly available.
Questions are being raised about the ramifications of driven pheasant shooting on nature: poisoned rats photographed in 2015, being perhaps one example.
And sometimes, although not enough, about the curtailment of public access to Britain’s woods. This trio of dilapidated signs on a still active shooting estate, were photographed in 2019.
But little about the menacing, distressing and disturbing effect on private lives and homes. Why? Could it be because people’s livelihoods and home would be in jeopardy if they spoke out? Could it be the risk of withdrawn or cancelled rural contracts? Or could it simply be a worn down weariness of derision, menace and unpleasantness?
“The series of game laws that have lain like a blight upon rural England for centuries begin at this time.” A L Moreton, A Peoples History of England, chapter III Feudal England.
The quote above and the two below, coupled with the landowner’s reneging and the Code’s volte-face response, exemplify the need for legislation to stem shoots' feudal behaviour over rural homes and lives.
“…if the law does not specifically prohibit something, then it is allowed.” in an email from a BASC officer to the cottage owner
“…we have no legal power to compel anyone to do anything.” in a letter from the Chairman of Code of Good Shooting Practice to the cottage owner.
A trenchant refusal by the shooting community to be legislatively constrained on where and how many pheasants are put into Britain’s countryside would be appallingly selfish.
Is the shooting fraternity unaware of its selfishness or is it indifferent to it?
Does the shooting fraternity believe it has a moral right to impose its values on people in their homes?
This is the shot hen pheasant shown on the PREMISE page, which had fallen on the lane between the home owner’s cottage and garage.
An imperious “Ours”, was exclaimed by one of the men holding a video camera, when his hand reached from behind the bent-over cottage owner and grabbed the wounded pheasant.
Some may consider it a trifling moment, others a trifling matter, but to the home owner it stung of an absence of empathy and compassion: it also displayed poor knowledge of the law.