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Hunt Saboteurs Association release undercover footage taken at Knowle Game Farm, Ulcombe

By Ed McConnell

Undercover footage recorded at a pheasant farm has revealed the shocking practices which are commonplace.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association released a clip filmed at Knowle Game Farm, in Knowle Hill, Ulcombe, as part of its investigation into the shooting industry.

Birds are bred at the site to be used as live targets for hunters, with those used for breeding confined to tiny wire cages.

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A chick pecks at a dead bird

A chick pecks at a dead bird

The birds live in cramped conditions

The birds live in cramped conditions

The protest group claims artificial lighting is used to increase egg production, with plastic 'bits' clamped around their beaks to stop them pecking at each other. Some of the animals have been known to resort to cannibalism.

The animals which die are piled in open pits, with footage showing a farmer tossing one out of his trailer.

Bits are fitted to the birds

Bits are fitted to the birds

Chicks are crammed into sheds for seven to eight weeks before being sold to the hunting industry.

Every year 7,000 hunts run in the UK, with 40 million pheasants released into the wild to satisfy the demand.

'Saddles' are fitted to females over sore areas on their backs caused by over mating. These allow males to continue to mate with them.

A dead bird is discarded by a farmer

A dead bird is discarded by a farmer

'Saddles' are fitted to females over sore areas on their backs caused by over mating. These allow males to continue to mate with them.

'Saddles' are fitted to females over sore areas on their backs caused by over mating. These allow males to continue to mate with them.

A spokesman for the farm told The Times as a business it has 25 years experience in the industry and their number one priority always has been the bird's health and welfare.

They accused the Hunt Saboteurs' investigators of killing birds and said the farm was aware of the dumping of dead birds which occurred earlier this year and it took action at the time.

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