I am concerned about the way in which legitimate shooting has recently been represented in the media. As a journalist and programme maker, I think that our response within the fieldsports community has been completely inadequate. The broadcast media seems to have a particular bias against us. This needs to be confronted. Our shotgun successes at the Commonwealth Games were played down and coverage of the ?Exmoor Emperor? that wrongly described the stag in question as the biggest stag in Britain or Europe was truly deplorable. Why aren?t we standing up more robustly to all the ignorant nonsense? The poet Benjamin Zephaniah on BBC1?s Sunday Morning Live even equated the plight of deer in Britain to the suffering of black slaves. Dr Zephaniah admitted that he knew nothing about deer.
What someone needed to say to the media regarding the Exmoor stag was this: it may be the case that this stag should not have been shot at this time, assuming it even has been shot, but old stags need to be culled. They may become prone to disease and starvation, mate with their daughters and die lingering deaths if not properly managed. If they offer a trophy, it is not only a great and respectful memory of a magnifi cent beast, but a means of generating income to pay for the preservation and improvement of the herd. I do not believe that these facts were presented in a sensitive manner to the non-shooting public. It is of particular concern that there was inadequate fact checking in the original Emperor story.
There is a Commons Home Affairs Committee considering firearms law at present. All of us who shoot should be concerned. We are in a battle for our survival ? it?s time to get our act together.
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