Belfast Telegraph

Under fire Tyrone Tory candidate lashes big game hunting critics

By Sean O'Driscoll

A controversial Conservative Party candidate and bloodsports enthusiast has released more photographs of himself posing with dead wildlife.

Roger Lomas, who is standing in West Tyrone, is seen posing with an eland antelope during a hunting trip to South Africa three years ago.

Blood drips from the long-horned animal's nose as he poses behind it with a rifle.

The same animal's head is now hanging on his wall in Tyrone.

Lomas shot so many eland during that trip that the local rancher gave him the head as a souvenir, he said.

He also released a photograph of dozens of dead boar lying side by side from a hunting trip to Bavaria last week.

In another photo he poses with one of the dead animals.

Mr Lomas also shot hundreds of doves on a trip in Argentina in recent years, and shot deer during a trip to New Zealand.

He spoke on the same day that the Tories' Secretary of State Theresa Villiers met the party's Northern Ireland candidates to wish them well in the Assembly election on May 5.

Ms Villiers has also been campaigning for Conservative Party candidates in Belfast and parts of Down.

The release of the photographs came after animal rights groups condemned him for posting an online photograph of a shooting trip to South Africa two years ago, in which he smiles as he props up a dead eland he shot on a ranch.

Mr Lomas said he had killed at least 10 eland on that trip and about 15 on a previous trip the year before.

In that first trip, in which Mr Lomas posed with another propped-up antelope, he had a greater kill count than anyone else on the hunting expedition, and the ranch owner rewarded him with a head to mount.

Both South African trips took place in the Eastern Cape province on large farms run by ranchers of English and German extraction.

A defiant Mr Lomas denounced as "hypocrites" the people who were attacking him online, but would then admit that they ate meat.

"Where do they think that meat came from?" he asked.

"Do they think it's worse to kill an animal that has a chance of escaping the hunter using its keen smell and sight and hearing?

"They are prepared to eat a defenceless animal that is cruelly treated before it's killed."

Mr Lomas said that he was looking forward to meeting Laura McAnea, who is running in West Tyrone for the Animal Welfare Party. "I have far more respect for vegans and vegetarians than the hypocrites who eat their Moy Park chicken and then attack me online," he added.

It is the first time that the Animal Welfare Party has stood a candidate in Northern Ireland.

Ms McAnea, who is from Omagh and now lives in London, didn't reply to a request for a comment.

Mr Lomas is a volunteer adviser to the Northern Ireland chairman of the Conservative Party, Harry Cullan.

In the midst of the controversy this week, Lord Feldman wrote to Mr Lomas to thank him for "working incredibly hard" for the party during the Assembly election.

Belfast Telegraph


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