Animal rights campaigners to target game shooting

Animal rights campaigners have set their sights on banning game shooting following their victory over hunting, according to a report in The Times.

The paper says The League Against Cruel Sports and Animal Aid have made clear that they intend to step up their campaign against shooting as a bloodsport and adds that the RSPCA, which has no campaign to ban shooting, is lobbying for a code of practice to protect pheasants reared for commercial shoots.

The Times quotes The Labour Animal Welfare Society's website as saying: “Hunting down — shooting to go.” The society, based in Walsall is chaired by Wally Burley, and its vice-chair is Baroness Gale, the Labour peeress. It supports the Labour Party and has links to the anti-hunt MPs Tony Banks and Ian Cawsey.

It adds that police chiefs are aware of the threat to shooting and a number of forces have urged shooting estates to step up security. Estate managers have been advised to site breeding and release sheds and pens away from roads and footpaths. The Police are also reported to have suggested tighter surveillance.

Whilst the paper says the Government insists it has no intention of restricting shooting - estimated to be worth at least £1 billion to the rural economy and which attracts a million participants - Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, believes that an MP will be persuaded to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to start the process.

The paper adds that Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid, has started lobbying MPs about the suffering of birds reared for game shoots and quotes Peter Setterfield, who runs a shoot near Petworth, West Sussex, as saying: "With a ban on hunting we know that game shoots will now come under attack by saboeturs."

The main story in November's issue of The Field goes by the self-explanatory title: "If hunting goes, shooting's next". The worry facing anglers now must be: "If shooting goes - angling's next".

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