Regulations and policy affecting shooting and conservation must be stripped of bias and be based on robust and carefully-assessed evidence according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

With a general election approaching and policy plans being finalised, BASC will increase its efforts to ensure that policy is evidence-based and evidence-driven and that any bias is removed from the process of establishing good regulation.

Alan Jarrett, BASC chairman, said: “For example, a recent report in the Times called into question the scientific evidence blaming some pesticides for the decline in the bee population. The allegation is that a number of scientists first settled on their conclusion that a ban on pesticides was needed and then set about seeking evidence to support that conclusion.

“If true, this is an extreme example of what is known as white hat bias, where subjective opinion is allowed to skew the evidence in support of a particular policy aim. BASC works to fight bias against shooting across the board; in science, politics, the media and in public perception and we will be increasing our efforts to ensure that shooting is treated fairly and honestly.”

Students performing scientific research in laboratory

BASC chief executive Richard Ali said: “Policy must be evidence-led and the science which provides that evidence must be sound. We have seen other recent examples of selectivity in reporting scientific studies.

“As we approach the general election BASC will be working harder than ever to seek out and challenge bias and misconception wherever they arise. Policy cannot be based on speculation, prejudice or unfounded claims and must be consistent with the principles of better regulation, set out under the last Labour government and built on by the current government.”

 The Times report on pesticide research (Dec 4 2014) can be found here:

Picture: (C)

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