WYRE Forest MP Mark Garnier has been criticised by a leading animal welfare charity for attending a 'game bird shooting party'.

The League Against Cruel Sports called Mr Garnier's actions "extremely irresponsible," after he accepted an invitation to the event at Catton Hall, Derbyshire, in September, which was funded by pheasant and partridge shooting industry lobbyists, the British Association for Shooting & Conservation.

The shooting event had a value of £700, according to the Register of Member's Financial Interests.

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It is extremely irresponsible for Mark Garnier MP to accept a ‘game’ bird shooting trip from industry lobbyists to an estate where up to 400 pheasants and partridges are offered up each day as feathered targets.

“Game bird shooting is losing public and political confidence because of its poor self-regulation, animal welfare and environmental credentials.

"Trigger-happy estates are releasing millions of factory-farmed birds into the countryside each year to be shot down for sport, with many of these animals ending up buried in pits, fly-tipped by the roadside or tossed into an incinerator.”

“If Mr Garnier wants to have fun blasting things out of the sky, we highly recommend simulated pheasant shooting, which replicates targeting game birds with clay discs.

"This true sport provides substantial investment for rural communities and a small army of loaders, technicians, catering staff, garage owners, publicans and landowners benefit.

"Rather than damaging the ecology like its live quarry-counterpart, simulated game shooting allows the countryside to be conserved by benefitting all wildlife beyond the pheasant and partridge.”

The Shuttle has approached Mr Garnier for comment.