Gundog sensationalism at its worst
Sensationalist, click-bait headlines based merely on speculation occur with alarming regularity in the modern media and this description is very apt of the ludicrous article published by the Herald on the 24th October (Revealed: the cruelty inflicted on dogs in the name of shooting).
Mark Smith’s feature is a gross misrepresentations of the gundog world and of Field Trials, tarnishing all gundog owners with the same brush and distorting the professional reputation that myself and other gundog owners strive to achieve.
Gundogs are an intrinsic part of the shooting community and, as outlined in the BASC Gundog Code of Practice (LINK), it is recommended “that anyone who goes out shooting should be accompanied by a trained and competent gundog [to] aid the humane recovery of quarry”.
Gundogs are our loyal companions out in the field and gundog owners take great pride and show utter dedication to their dogs and rightfully so.
To me, going out training my dogs and working them gives me absolute enjoyment and I know that in order to get the most from my team they need to enjoy it too.
Image by Perthshire Picture Agency
Having attended many such events, I have seen high standards at Field Trials upheld. These are now required by the Kennel Club to only be held on land which adheres to the Code of Good Shooting Practice.
Malpractice at such events is not tolerated and the Kennel Club has a strict complaints procedure for all manner of infringements which they deal with the upmost sincerity.
Make no bones about it, malpractice has absolutely no place in the shooting community. If anyone witnesses abuse of dogs – in the field or anywhere else, for that matter – then this can be immediately reported to the Police in contravention of the Animal Welfare Act (LINK TO ACT).
But we also have a responsibility to call out newspapers when they print content which stokes an anti-shooting agenda fuelled by a gross misrepresentation of the reality.
As soon as we saw the article yesterday, BASC sent a robust letter to the newspaper concerned, which was printed today. We also stated our position on social media. It is a clear guiding principle for BASC that we will always seek to defend shooting’s reputation.
But members and the wider shooting community can also play their part by writing individually to the newspaper here. It only takes a few minutes to send an email to the letter’s editor and it will help give a sense of the outrage this article has caused.
Header image by Perthshire Picture Agency