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In defence of falconry

I write regarding the Forget falconry letter published in the 29 September issue of Shooting Times. It is somewhat disappointing that the individual concerned has based his opinion of falconry and falconers on his observations of an online international falconry forum.

Unfortunately, many of those on such forums are not falconers, but individuals who enjoy being controversial. They do not represent the UK falconry community. The true falconry forums, such as the UK Falconers Club and Forum, and the Falconers Forum, are populated by individuals who are falconers and take great pride in their sport and tradition.

The majority of falconers in the UK are members of falconry clubs. The affiliation of those clubs to the Hawk Board (the Government liaison body) ensures that individual falconers are subject to the guidelines laid down by the Hawk Board, including the latest legislation, quarry licences, transport, welfare and displays. As with other fieldsports, falconers have high regard for the quarry their birds pursue. Falconry is not about the kill; in many cases, most falconers enjoy the flight and chase as much as any successful kill.

Falconers also have great respect for the landowners who provide the permission and the land on which they hunt. All take care to abide by the countryside code, and ensure the minimum of disturbance to the land and stock. Perhaps Mr Welsh will be invited by a local falconry club to see the true face of falconry in the UK. I am sure he will not be disappointed and may even consider taking up the sport once more.

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