Self-regulation of the shooting community emerged as the principal theme of BASC’s Future of Shooting debate, which was held on 24 July at The CLA Game Fair. The well-attended debate was held in the Game Fair Theatre and simultaneously broadcast on Game Fair Radio.

Chaired by BASC’s chief executive John Swift, the three panellists, Conservative MP Jim Paice, Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Öpik and CLA President Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, answered questions posed by the audience regarding shooting’s long-term future in the UK. “Government regulation should be the last resort, not the first,” commented Mr Paice. He added that common sense regulation should not be “party political” and that if the shooting industry is to flourish in the future, action must be taken now to stave off critics. Mr Öpik agreed: “I am wary that political expedience could threaten the whole sector.”

Audience member Hugh Thomas, from Exmoor, asked the panel whether the shooting industry is being sufficently robust about finding an alternative to lead shot. Mr Paice commented that the industry has to be guided by science: “In my opinion, there is no short-term threat, but the industry needs to do all it can to develop an alternative to lead shot. We cannot defend the indefensible.” Mr Öpik believed there was not a case for banning lead shot until an alternative has been found: “However, we need to be hands-on and not wait until we are forced to find an alternative, like the petrol industry.”

The rest of this article appears in 29 July issue of Shooting Times.

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