The latest attempt to undermine the status quo by animal rights groups is currently underway. As with all of these attempts the main goal is not what is laid out in the press releases, or, on the web pages of the group concerned. If you have read any of the previous articles, you will be aware that, the individual’s personal choice is theirs and theirs alone. You will also know that there are many shooters, from every conceivable stand point; from meat eaters to vegans, all religions, races, and creeds.
Despite their diverse viewpoints, they have a number of areas of commonality. The first and most obvious is that they all enjoy taking part in the many and various different options available in the shooting sports as a whole. They also have a strong sense of right and wrong, as defined by the laws of the land. You will be hard pushed to find a shooter with a parking ticket, or, a speeding fine, let alone anything more serious. This attitude is something that is borne out of the discipline of shooting, and the responsibility that owning such tools, for that’s what a firearm is, brings.
Another thing that binds, is the concern for the environment where their shooting is undertaken, along with the nature therein. These areas are a haven for wildlife, and considerably less impactful than the thousands of houses being built over the hundreds of hectares of green belt. But as usual I digress, sorry. Our ranges alone provide sanctuary for moths, butterflies, wild orchids and numerous other wild flowers, adders, grass snakes, slow-worms, stag and other beetles, and finally but not least badgers. But these ranges are not overgrown, and un-managed. They are however selectively managed in order to help keep the natural diversity of the environment they are on.
Certain groups over the years, and certainly in the last thirty years with more intensity, wish to remove those who have been taking care of the rural environment for generations, and replace them with people who think the right way. The right way being that, if man is involved its wrong, unless of course the person is one of their own. A local group who thought this way refused to allow the control of foxes or deer on their land. The upshot was that the deer population grew beyond what the environment could provide food for, resulting in emaciated and sickly deer living on the ground. Many of these deer were culled, but did not end up in the food chain as they were not fit for human consumption. The foxes mean while wreaked havoc on the ground nesting birds, during the nesting season, resulting in an explosion in fox numbers. They were also culled!
Having had little success with their previous tactics, these groups are now learning from those in the U.S.A. who have also tried the first route, and have for the past ten years or so gone down a different path. They know that the people who support their viewpoint are in the minority, a significant one, but still a minority, which has remained stable over time. The new route is one of the law, and it’s not about winning! The plan is to ruin financially their opponents. Both sides are able to draw on their respective supporters for finances, but the anti-group has nothing to lose by keep throwing law suit after law suit at their opponent. Those defending against such suits, are often prevented from continuing their lawful business, whilst these spurious cases are taken through the courts, or, relevant ministerial department.
The first attempt here in the UK was the challenge to, and the suspension of, the general license to control pest such as pigeons and corvids. With a relatively small outlay the group concerned brought chaos to many farmers around the country. Those concerned could not have picked a worse time to proceed with such an action. As self-proclaimed environmentalists and animal lovers, they systematically removed hundreds of thousands of native birds from the countryside they profess to care so much about. In my own locality there was an increase in jays, magpies, and jackdaws. There was by contrast, a marked decline in blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, gold-crests and blue tits, all of which normally nest happily in the trees and hedges of my garden. One blackbird in her nest, visible from a window in the house, laid more than nine eggs, it may have been more, but only a few made it to hatching, and those that did never fledged.
This latest challenge to the shooting sports, in all its guises, is the most pernicious so far. Without everyone taking part to support those best placed to fight these law suits, there will be no future for shooting here in the UK. Firstly, they will ban game shooting. Then there will be a ban on vermin control. Clay pigeon shooting will be next, with the banning of lead shot, and whilst that is being passed, the use of lead in all ammunition will be included in the ban. Don’t believe me! Go to California, where such a lead ban is already in place. They came in from a different direction, but the ultimate goal is the same.