SIR – Would you like food that was terrified, chased and killed for fun? Would you eat it if you knew it had been reared in cages before being released to be shot at by paying punters?

Would you eat it if you knew it had been hit with lead pellets, left wounded until seized by a dog before coshing?

Because the shooting industry would like you to believe the principal purpose of live-quarry shooting is to provide you with food, not to obtain pleasure from killing.

Annually in Britain, around 50 million pheasants and partridges are purpose-bred.

According to the industry’s own figures, around 18 million are shot and retrieved.

Of that 18 million, fewer than eight million are sold to game dealers. It is claimed the remaining ten million are handed over to shooters or taken by shoot operators.

The biggest threat to live-quarry shooting is the public realisation the vast majority of these hapless birds are not eaten – just destroyed. They are not wild. They were bred in disgraceful conditions.

The pheasant-shooting season starts tomorrow. This enormous annual cruelty is repeated in the name of sport. Make sure it is not in your name.

Kit Davidson Shooting Consultant Animal Aid, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge