We should be anti ?anti?. As Shooting Times readers know, the word is now widely used to describe individuals and organisations that oppose hunting and fishing, guns and shooting. It is a crude yet convenient catch-all word that creates wider division.

The trouble is, most antis don?t see themselves as anti anything. Their perception is that they are ?for? something. They argue that they are for the protection of wildlife, safety and animal rights. The word also fails to define exactly what the anti is against. Some may be simply afraid that members of the public have access to guns; others may be against shooting grey squirrels, but accept deerstalking and fishing.

To retain the right to shoot and promote our sport we need to understand the beliefs and feelings of those who wish to ban guns and stop hunting. (Or, as they would say, reduce the chances of another mass murder and allow animals to live and die naturally.) But if someone vehemently believes pheasants should not be shot, there is nothing you can do to change their mind. You can provide them with all the facts and figures in a clear manner, but they will insist that pheasants should not be shot under any circumstances. The reality is, we shoot and there are people who want it banned.

Even if they don?t agree with us, let us try to get antis at least to understand our view. We need to start building relationships at a point of agreement, not at a point of confl ict. In the court of public opinion, you don?t have to persuade all the antis to accept all your views. You simply have to gain a majority verdict from middleground jurors. Extremist views on either side of any argument usually alienate most sensible people.

The problem is finding a snappy substitute for the word ?anti?. If we can?t find

an alternative, let?s remember its limitations and be more selective with its use.

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