BASC has accused the anti-shooting lobby of misrepresenting support from a national political party to secure backing for its latest attack on driven grouse shooting.

A film released at the weekend features campaigner Mark Avery and makes misleading allegations about the role of gamekeepers in the management of the uplands. The website hosting the film also claims it was commissioned by the Green Party.

After being contacted by BASC today, the Green Party denied commissioning the 20-minute film from activist filmmaker Tom Wood.

In addition, Fieldsports TV has asked YouTube to take down the film for breach of copyright after it featured the channel’s footage of grouse shooting and associated commentary without permission.

Duncan Thomas, director for BASC’s northern region, said: “Mark Avery is part of a group which is not being honest with the public in attempts to secure credibility for their campaign against grouse shooting.

“This film is littered with misinformation and ill-informed rhetoric, which is no less than we have come to expect from these extremists. But they have surpassed themselves this time by also claiming the film has been commissioned by a national political party, which it has not.

“It is also worth noting that while Mr Avery is seen in the film delivering this particular sermon from the comfort of his armchair, those who care about the countryside will have been out on the moors doing the hard work to protect habitats which are at the heart of rural communities.”

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “The film fails to acknowledge that gamekeepers create outstanding habitat for many rare and endangered birds, which is why the majority of grouse moors are internationally protected.

“Without grouse shooting, these precious habitats would simply not exist. And neither would the associated jobs and economic benefits which are a lifeline to isolated rural communities.”

Fieldsports Channel has filed an official complaint to YouTube and requested they take down the video.

Fieldsports Channel presenter Charlie Jacoby said: “Copyright infringement is the bane of our work on YouTube. This filmmaker, Tom Wood, joins a long list including Russian hackers and African poachers, against whom we have issued copyright ‘strikes’. The good news is that YouTube and Google are unforgiving about copyright.

“A film of this sort spouts ill-informed anti-shooting propaganda, which goes against our mission to provide the best hunting and shooting TV.”

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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