Last week’s Channel 4 News series of reports, Green and Pleasant Land, was supposed to highlight the decline in some of the UK’s wildlife due to climate change, but in the first of the programmes, presenter Jon Snow accused gamekeepers of “killing a good number of elements from the food chain”, while in an article linked to the series, shooters were named as one of the main causes of the decline in hare numbers. Channel 4 used figures given by the Hare Preservation Trust, which claims that 400,000 hares are shot every year. John Rivington of the organisation said that “…it’s only because they are fast breeders that they haven’t as of yet gone extinct [sic]”.

Dr Alastair Leake, director of policy at the GWCT, told Shooting Times: “There are a huge number of inaccuracies in this report and the suggestion that anything but a small number are shot during the breeding season is misleading. The Game Laws prohibit hares from being sold during this time anyway. Indeed shooting is not the cause of hare decline, it is in fact the main source of information on hares, with the GWCT’s National Gamebag Census being the only long-term indication of the changing fortunes of hares.

The rest of this article appears in the 15th May issue of Shooting Times.

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