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Shooting is a force for good in countryside

Correspondent John Tierny set out a range of misleading statements in a misguided attempt to besmirch the totally legal activity of quarry shooting (Writeback, December 8).

The shooting community is a force for good in conservation activity in the countryside. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation has recently completed the first phase of its Green Shoots programme, showing vast areas of the province are under benign wildlife management from the shooting community, and gathering remarkable records of species and habitat.

This survey will provide publicly-available resources and information that is unparalleled.

All of this input and effort comes from the direct interest of the shooting community and is a resource that comes at almost no cost to the public purse, but which provides benefits to all.

Responsible shooting is about taking a sustainable harvest from a natural source, with input from man helping nature.

Quarry species are highly valued and cherished, and contribute wholesome, natural produce to the food chain. The public is increasingly interested in traceability of food, and in free-range and organic production. Taking that path further leads to the increasing zest for truly wild food - mammals and birds that can form a legal and viable part of the food chain.

Increasing afforestation, welcomed by many conservationists, leads also to an increase in deer, and requires greater deer management, leading to increased supplies of venison to the table.

Good game management leads to the availability of a plentiful supply of pheasant and partridge. Beyond this, many individuals also take modest harvests of duck and goose, as well as pigeon and rabbit.

Mankind is a hunter-gatherer, and respect for quarry is still paramount in the shooting community. To lose contact with this wholesome, nutritious aspect of our diet would be folly in the extreme.

Anyone who advocates doing so is sadly unaware of the enormous benefits that we all gain from the very positive activities of the shooting community, both in food production as well as in conservation.

Roger Pollen Director, BASC NI, Lisburn

Belfast Telegraph


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