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Saturday, 16 December, 2000, 03:39 GMT
Pheasant shoot in campaigners' sights
Pheasants are bred on the estate for shooting parties
Campaigners are targetting a pheasant shooting event on an estate owned by the department store group, the John Lewis Partnership.

Animal Aid and the National Anti-Hunt Campaign will picket the 3,000-acre Leckford Abbas estate near Winchester in Hampshire.

They have tried to disrupt previous shoots and say they aim to stop even more of the twice-weekly events this year.

NAHC spokesman Niel Hansen said: "Through peaceful protests we are determined to stop as many of their shoots as possible this season and are absolutely determined that they will not shoot a single bird today."

Shooting pheasants
Campaigners aim to stop the events
Animal Aid demonstrators will hold a gibbet line strewn with dead wildlife to symbolise the foxes, stoats and weasels they say are killed at the estate every year to protect the farmed pheasants.

The group will also distribute leaflets to Christmas shoppers outside the John Lewis store in Southampton and the company's London head office.

"Our protests will continue throughout the holiday period. They will only end when the killing ends," said Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler.

'High standards'

No-one from John Lewis was available for comment.

Anti-bloodsports campaigners have protested at stores around the country to highlight their arguments against the shoots.

Animal Aid's website says that the John Lewis in-house staff newspaper has carried letters from employees complaining about the firm's involvement in pheasant shooting.

John Lewis Oxford Street
The group's stores have seen protests
The site also quotes a response given by Malcolm Crabtree, managing director of the Leckford estate, who said: "The shoot is managed in accordance with high standards.

"Birds are reared, and the shoot operates to codes of good practice agreed by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation and The Game Conservancy.

"I fully recognise that strong views are held among partners and customers both in favour of and against shooting game birds.

"I recognise, too, that those who protest against the partnership shoot have caused inconvenience and unpleasantness to partners in a number of branches, and all of us involved in the shoot greatly regret that.

"Nevertheless, it is a lawful activity and, to the best of my knowledge, the only legislation being contemplated by the government is to outlaw hunting with dogs, not shooting."

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