FERRY companies which stopped carrying pheasant chicks for the shooting industry because of welfare concerns are being challenged in court by French game bird breeders.
Brittany Ferries – which operates services between Portsmouth and France – P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways stopped transporting the birds and fertilised eggs across the English Channel from France.
The decision came following an undercover investigation by the League Against Cruel Sports in 2015 into factory farms where some of the animals are born.
Animal welfare organisations praised the move but French game breeders, who provide at least 20m birds for shoots in the UK, are now suing the companies.
Brittany Ferries declined to comment when approached by The News.
Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, says: ‘It is clear to the league and the public at large that Brittany Ferries, P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways are acting with integrity in refusing to carry pheasant and partridge chicks for shooting.
‘It is commendable this position is not only being taken from a commercial perspective, but because it is the right thing to do.’
Young pheasants and partridges are taken to Cherbourg or Calais for the ferry crossing to Portsmouth or Dover, before their journey ends with being unloaded at an English shooting estate.