our lobbyists need to shout louder for shooting
as I prepare for my first day of this season, I find I am growing more concerned about our beautiful sport’s future. Indeed, I echo John clements (The danger of silence, August issue], and the responses that followed. I would certainly purchase a ‘Speak Up for Shooting’ badge ( pictured far right), as John clements suggests, and write letters in support. My question is, who from the countryside community is best positioned to coordinate this?
The additional revenue generated from badge sales and even, perhaps, an increase in premiums charged by basc, the countryside Alliance, NGO and GWCT could bolster a united media ‘front’ for the fieldsports community. Our lobbying, too, needs to move up a gear: e-petitions and pre-written letters to crossparty MPS should be provided for members to sign and send; televised appearances and postings to social media should appear with greater frequency and coincide with potentially damaging policy changes.
The announcement that licences permitting shooting on public land in Wales would no longer be granted reached a wide audience and was celebrated by anti-shooting and hunting groups as “a small, victorious step against a sport that should be consigned to the history books”. Our response was limited. Indeed, I found myself questioning why our organisations have not launched a public counter-proposal, using all of the above methods? Surely providing members with the right information and means to urge policy setters and MPS to reconsider should be top of their agendas, especially, when the very core of our sport is under attack? chris Packham’s attack on grouse shooting showed just how effective the anti-shooting establishment has become.
Have we inadvertently scored an own-goal by not responding publicly? by not presenting our case more effectively, we have run the risk of allowing the public’s viewpoint to be adversely tainted by the onesided arguments of the antis.
Granted, it may be an over-reaction to suggest that not renewing licences to shoot on public land in Wales will result in the wider public rallying to the anti-shooting cause – but it may have increased their (hopefully wrong) belief that our sport is from a time gone by.
We must get better at presenting the benefits shooting brings to the rural community and economy, and the more general role we play in the protection and preservation of our precious countryside.
I am just your typical shooting man, I care deeply for our countryside and will spend as much effort, money and time as I can ensuring the future of these great sports and land.
G. Clifford-newman By email