A mass campaign to prevent serious restrictions on shooting and conservation in Northern Ireland has been started by the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
BASC is lobbying to prevent changes which would introduce an outright ban on snares – a vital tool in pest and predator control – and remove golden plover and curlew from the quarry list in Northern Ireland.
Roger Pollen, BASC director for Northern Ireland said: “Changes have been introduced to the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill at the committee stage which would end an essential means of pest control, used to protect a wide range of species. They could also remove two species from the quarry list. Proposed restrictions on shooting golden plover and curlew are neither proportionate nor based on sound evidence.”
BASC has written to the Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, and is urging everyone involved in shooting and predator control to contact the minister and their representative Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). A petition urging the Minister to act is being circulated and a postcard has been produced for BASC members to send to their MLAs.
Speaking about BASC’s campaign, prominent firearms dealer and former Chairman of the Northern Ireland Gun Trade Guild, Ivor Cowan, said: "BASC is fighting an outstanding campaign. It is vital that all shooters get behind them and lend their support to make sure our politicians take on board the views of the shooting and conservation sector.”
Roger Pollen said: “People involved in shooting and in conservation need to urge the Minister and the Assembly 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”. ENDS.