The UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has launched campaigning websites which allow people to look up their Parliamentary candidates to assess their views on shooting issues ahead of upcoming elections in Wales and Northern Ireland on May 5.
BASC is calling on its members and all who shoot to use the websites to lobby their Welsh Assembly Government and Northern Ireland Assembly candidates.
The websites, which sit alongside a similar one for Scotland, allow shooters to send an email, which can be edited and personalised, to candidates to point out that shooting is an important part of the countryside and an important issue to their constituents. Candidates will be given the opportunity to respond.
BASC is urging everyone who is involved in shooting to visit the BASC website, www.basc.org.uk, and to take a few minutes to send a message to their constituency and list candidates. BASC is asking people to forward the responses for inclusion on a database of politicians’ views on shooting.
The email to candidates sets out the value of shooting to the countryside and to the economy. It also gives them the opportunity to comment on other shooting-related issues.
Glynn Cook, director of BASC Wales, said that the website would give shooters in Wales the ideal opportunity to find out how prospective Welsh Assembly Government candidates feel about shooting sports.
He said: "It is vital that candidates are made aware of the economic value of shooting sports to the all-important rural economy of Wales. By showing their support for shooting, candidates will be supporting the countryside of Wales. While professional campaigning organisations such as BASC have their work to do, nothing gets through to a Parliamentary candidate more effectively than a message from one of their own constituents. I ask all those in Wales who are involved in shooting sports to make time to send a message to their local candidates and then forward any responses back to us.”
Tommy Mayne, director of BASC Northern Ireland, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for the province’s shooting community to ensure that their voice is heard by those seeking to be elected. I would urge anyone with an interest in sporting shooting to use this facility to send a message to their constituency candidates stressing the importance of shooting as a sport that is growing in popularity and a sport that makes a very significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.
It is crucial that any responses received from candidates are forwarded to BASC Northern Ireland so that we can update the database accordingly.”
Shooting is worth £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy. It is worth £240million a year to Scotland, £73 million a year to Wales and £45 million a year to Northern Ireland.