By Will Finch
Sunday, 01 July 2012
The League Against Cruel Sports' (LACS) campaign to end game shooting suffered a major blow last week after its showpiece anti-shooting event was called off just two weeks before it was due to take place.
The Gunning for Change symposium, which had been arranged for 6 July at Central Hall Westminster, was to feature a new film called Gunsmoke and Mirrors, which promised to reveal “the truth behind the shooting industry”.
However, according to a statement on LACS’ website: “After carefully reviewing the aims and objectives of the campaign... trustees and management of the charity have taken the decision to revise the timing and role of the upcoming symposium on shooting and firearms licensing.”
When contacted by Shooting Times, the League’s head of campaigns and communications, Louise Robertson, said the event had not been cancelled and would take place “a bit later in the year”.
She said: “We are launching a new shooting campaign which was integral to the symposium and, unfortunately, this has taken longer than we hoped to get off the ground.”
As reported in Shooting Times earlier this month (News, 13 June), the RSPB’s head of investigations, Bob Elliott, had been scheduled to provide the event’s keynote address.
Reacting to the news, RSPB spokesman Grahame Madge said: “We will wait to see whether the revised date is convenient for us before confirming our attendance.”
“However, we regard the illegal persecution of birds of prey as a highly serious matter, and we reserve the right to talk to any organisation about our views on this matter.”
Countryside Alliance director of campaigns Tim Bonner said: “No-one with a passing understanding of LACS’ current state will be surprised at the indefinite postponement of this symposium. What was most concerning about it was the advertisement of RSPB involvement in what was clearly promoted as an anti-shooting event.”
“The RSPB is quite right to condemn rare instances of illegal persecution of birds of prey, but unless it is also going to promote the conservation benefits of shooting, I cannot see how the RSPB’s attendance at such an event could be viewed as compatible with its ‘neutral’ position on shooting.”
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