SOME 35 million intensively reared pheasants are released in the late autumn every year so that they can serve as feathered targets for guns' paying £1,000 or more per day for the pleasure.

Animal Aid has long contended based on the best available evidence that a large percentage of the shot birds are not eaten. The shooting press itself has acknowledged that some are buried.

Shooting live creatures for fun needs explanation. Providing unwanted food for the consumer is the BASC justification.

Because of mass commercial pleasure shooting, there is probably more pheasant available today than at any time since the Edwardian era. Yet the meat is so unpopular that it has to be given away.

If you must accept this morally indefensible gift for which, the market price is 30p a carcase - please ponder why it was hatched, raised and killed in the first place.

But just as importantly why you were given it.

Kit Davidson, Animal Aid