Shots from the shires

Shooting Gazette - - Shoot briefing - by John Walker

The bbc is of­ten por­trayed as a ma­lign in­flu­ence in ma­jor de­bates. With ed­i­to­rial guide­lines set from above, news re­portage on sub­jects as di­verse as cli­mate change and rap­tor per­se­cu­tion set agen­das for lis­ten­ers who didn’t know that they needed one. In a con­stantly chang­ing me­dia land­scape, the bbc is fac­ing dif­fer­ent chal­lenges to those faced by Lord reith, coming from govern­ment and com­peti­tors for at­ten­tion. It’s a race for rev­enue and like most com­pet­i­tive in­dus­tries, the pro­tag­o­nists are con­stantly seek­ing com­mer­cial ad­van­tages. The bbc is no dif­fer­ent but its less-than-im­par­tial cov­er­age of – and stance on – brexit, es­pousal of the rspb, RSPCA, WWF and so-called ex­perts on me­te­o­rol­ogy, are ma­jor in­flu­ences.

Its re­cent an­nounce­ment that the case for man-made cli­mate change had now been ac­cepted as holy writ, so dis­cus­sion about it no longer needs bal­anced ar­gu­ment, was in­dica­tive of new think­ing. It was, there­fore, il­lu­mi­nat­ing to lis­ten to the bal­anced pieces on game­keep­ing that fea­tured in the Farm­ing

To­day pro­gramme, be­cause they recog­nised that the role of game man­age­ment was key to the eco­nomic sur­vival of ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and that own­ing a shoot­ing es­tate or grouse moor was not a li­cence to print money.

The chal­lenges fac­ing keep­ers and shoot­ing were voiced im­pec­ca­bly by duncan Sin­clair of the Powys moor­land Part­ner­ship. There can be no wild game shoot­ing with­out con­ser­va­tion. Killing game for fun is a dis­tor­tion of the truth, but the pub­lic are rarely told the real story. The de­fault po­si­tion of the shoot­ing com­mu­nity is de­fen­sive when good, pos­i­tive in­for­ma­tion is avail­able to set our own agenda – and rap­tor per­se­cu­tion is in the mi­nor­ity but should be recog­nised and elim­i­nated.

Less co­gent were the sug­ges­tions by Friends

Of The earth that half a mil­lion acres of moor­land were be­ing man­aged as a mono­cul­ture ex­clu­sively to sup­port shoot­ing, which should be stopped im­me­di­ately, and lis­ten­ers’ tweets that trum­peted the rap­tor is­sue. A re­cent court judge­ment that cases brought by an­i­mal char­i­ties of­ten “have the pre­sump­tion of bias” against the cus­to­di­ans of the coun­try­side was ground­break­ing, so per­haps Aun­tie doesn’t al­ways know best.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.