In a piece of cynical sensationalism the Daily Mail last week spun a positive story of an educational school trip for 10-year olds into an anti-shooting article.
The piece, which appeared under the headline Primary school pupils go home from trip in tears after teacher takes them to see ducks being blasted out of the sky, described what was in reality a trip to see the conservation work done by Ely and District Wildfowlers? Association and to witness an evening flight.
The article was based on a complaint from one parent, Ray Poolman, 49, who said his daughter came home in tears after the outing.
He was quoted in the newspaper as saying: ?I was absolutely unaware that it was a shoot, otherwise she wouldn?t have been there. There?s no way it?s an educational trip. It shouldn?t have been arranged by teachers in school time. I can?t believe they put children in that environment. What if something had gone wrong? They allowed children to witness the death of an animal.?
However Shirley Stapleton, headmistress of Ashbeach Primary School in Ramsey St Mary?s, Cambridgeshire, said parents were made aware that the trip would involve wildfowling and all signed permission slips.
She added: ?All the children indicated at the end of the visit that they had thoroughly enjoyed it.?
BASC?s Simon Clarke commented: ?This is a joint venture between the school and the Ely and District Wildfowlers? Association which has run for a number of years. Both club and school should be congratulated for offering the pupils the opportunity to find out about wildfowling and the importance of conserving wetlands.?
?It is regrettable that on this occasion a young girl was upset, but the school reports that she did not show any signs of distress at the time.?
?We understand that one duck was shot and retrieved on this outing and it is extremely unlikely that any of the children saw the duck being shot.?