Animal Aid said that the ?lurid and pro-violence? content of publications such as Shooting Times could have a ?corrosive, long-lasting effect on impressionable young minds?.

It called for such publications to be consigned to the ?top shelf?, and banned from sale to under 18s.

Shooting Times editor, Alastair Balmain, said: ?Rational people see this for what it is: a sanctimonious stunt. It is both laughable and deeply offensive. I am a parent ? and what moral authority does Animal Aid have over my children? None.?

Animal Aid?s call only gained public attention after the contents of its press release on the subject were reproduced in The Daily Telegraph.

Speaking during a BBC Radio 2 discussion with Animal Aid?s director Andrew Tyler, the Countryside Alliance?s shooting campaigns manager David Taylor dismissed the campaign as ?crazy?.

On the same show, UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, a keen shooter, said: ?The thought of having Shooting Times on the top shelf alongside Big Boobs Monthly is hilarious. This is a well-regulated sport which does a lot of good for the countryside.?

?We?d live in prairies if it wasn?t for shooting ? everything would go under the plough. Mr Tyler doesn?t know what he?s talking about.?

Farming minister, Jim Paice, also spoke out on the subject, claiming that the campaign failed to recognise the contribution that country sports made to rural economies.

He said: ?Animal Aid doesn?t want to understand the reality of what goes on in the countryside ? the value of these sports to local communities, to their economies and to conservation.?

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