The latest move in a mass lobbying campaign aimed at preventing serious restrictions on shooting and conservation in Northern Ireland has seen the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) present a petition to the Province’s Environment Minister Edwin Poots. The campaign was launched to prevent changes in legislation which would introduce an outright ban on snares – a vital tool in pest and predator control – and remove both golden plover and curlew from the quarry schedules in Northern Ireland. The proposed changes were introduced to the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill at the committee stage.
Roger Pollen, BASC Northern Ireland director, and Tommy Mayne, Northern Ireland officer, presented the petition, which has been signed by more than 750 people, to the Environment Minister at Stormont. BASC has also written to Mr Poots and is urging everyone involved in shooting and predator control in Northern Ireland to contact both the Minister and their local Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to voice their opposition to the proposed changes. A mass mailing postcard has been produced for BASC members to send to their MLAs as part of the campaign.
Tommy Mayne said: “The response to our campaign has so far been fantastic. We are still encouraging people to sign the petition and to send postcards to their MLAs. The Minister and the Assembly need to be urged to set aside the three recommendations from the Environment Committee. There is no good evidence to show why these birds should be removed from the quarry list and modern snaring, properly carried out, is an effective and humane means of predator control. Proposed restrictions on shooting golden plover and curlew are neither proportionate nor based on sound evidence.”
Pictured is Tommy Mayne (left) and Edwin Poots (right).