Decathlon bows to animal rights extremists

A sports retail chain has removed products from its UK website following pressure from animal rights extremists. French retailer Decathlon sells a wider range of hunting and shooting kit via its website than its chain of shops in the UK.

After a Tweet by birds rights activist Ruth Peacey, it has withdrawn its nine-shot cartridges which, it says, were listed on its website in error.


On Facebook, Decathlon went further, claiming that by removing hunting kit it was ‘having a positive impact on the environment’ and ignoring the work that shooters do to look after biodiversity.


Ruth Peacey campaigns against ammunition on stage at the 2019 Bird Fair with BBC colleague Chris Packham


Decathlon’s responses came about after a Tweet by Peacey. Her attack on Decathlon gained the support of a worldwide network of hundreds of animal rights enthusiasts who retweeted it:

However, Decathlon ignored the feelings of the 600,000 gun licence holders in the UK when it made its decision, causing anger among its core shoppers.

Peacey’s main grievance is that Decathlon’s 9-shot cartridges from its Solognac range are branded as suitable for thrushes, which are only shootable under individual licence in the UK, a licence that is rarely requested by shooters. However, the cartridges are also suitable for one of the UK’s most iconic gamebirds, the snipe. Most cartridge companies sell ammunition in the UK branded with wildlife which are either protected or do not occur in the UK countryside. The Norma Oryx range is a popular deer round.

Decathlon’s 9-shot thrush-branded cartridges


Peacey’s single Tweet, its few hundred retweets, and few thousand who signed a petition from a network of animal rights activists set up to put pressure on companies was enough for Decathlon to cave in and announce its product withdrawal. Peacey, who worked for ten years for the BBC, went on the attack and demanded Decathlon remove products from more of its worldwide websites. One activist posted contact details for Decathlon, urgingin supporters to ‘Feel free to contact Decathlon’.

Decathlon’s response to that is more muted:


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