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Shooting helps manage problem species of birds

Published 14/04/2015

I've noticed in a few recent editions of your newspaper that the animal rights extremists are beginning their annual spring rant about shooting - full of the tired old cliches about how cruel it is to kill things and equally full of stupid mistakes which only show how little they know about running the countryside.

Here are some points to make you think:

Our wildlife, which we all love, falls into two broad groups - everything is either a predator or prey. Most of the prey species have a life-expectancy of less than two years, before ending with a squeak or squeal as food for a fox, crow or magpie.

Hawks catch their prey and eat it alive - it dies from shock and loss of blood part-way through being eaten. All of this is entirely natural.

Predator species usually live a bit longer - a few years - and almost all of them starve to death when they are too old to hunt properly. Again, all natural.

It is widely accepted that farming methods have changed the countryside into wide-open areas where the predators now have a huge and unnatural advantage over prey.

What the shooting community does, at no expense to the public, is to manage the numbers of the species which cause the most problems.

We do not inflict unnecessary suffering on anything - if something has to be killed, we do it as quickly and efficiently as possible - and within the law.

IAN CLARK

Scottish Association for Country Sports

Belfast Telegraph

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