In a recent Belfast Telegraph article Mr Oddie apparently claimed that people who hunt and shoot foxes have “flaws that are downright dangerous.” But later in the same article he says that farmers who have a problem with foxes should shoot them.
In responding to the article, Tommy Mayne, director of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation in NI said: “Pest control is necessary to ensure the protection of crops, livestock, vegetables, fruit and fisheries. It is also necessary to ensure the preservation of public health and safety. Indeed the majority of pest control activities are carried out under General Licence issued by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
“However Mr Oddie does seems a bit confused in his comments in relation to people who shoot having ‘flaws that are downright dangerous.’ This is seriously misguided. Northern Ireland has approximately 60,000 firearm certificate holders who are amongst the most law abiding people in our society. Northern Ireland has one of the safest and most robust firearms licensing systems in the world and the notion that those who participate in pest control are dangerous is absurd.”
An independent survey conducted last year by Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) found that shooting provides £28 million annually to the Northern Ireland economy. That same survey entitled The Value of Shooting also found that shooters involved in conservation work influence approximately 70,000 hectares in NI.