While in an article linked to the series, shooters were named as one of the main causes of the decline in hare numbers.
Channel 4 used figures given by the Hare Preservation Trust, which claims that 400,000 hares are shot every year.
John Rivington of the organisation said that “…it’s only because they are fast breeders that they haven’t as of yet gone extinct [sic]”.
Dr Alastair Leake, director of policy at the GWCT, told Shooting Times: “There are a huge number of inaccuracies in this report and the suggestion that anything but a small number are shot during the breeding season is misleading. The Game Laws prohibit hares from being sold during this time anyway.”
“Indeed shooting is not the cause of hare decline, it is in fact the main source of information on hares, with the GWCT’s National Gamebag Census being the only long-term indication of the changing fortunes of hares.”
“Conservationists in general are not calling on the Government to increase protection for hares. Of the four organisations mentioned in Channel 4’s report, such as the Hare Preservation Trust, three are focused on animal rights rather than conservation.”
Simon Clarke from BASC told Shooting Times: “The apocalyptic view of the countryside in meltdown presented on Channel 4 News has been both surprising and disappointing. To enable wildlife to adapt to a changing climate, conservation effort is needed at the landscape scale. Management of land for shooting is at the landscape scale.”
“John Snow’s suggestion that gamekeepers contribute to species decline by ‘killing things’ demonstrates an unfortunate lack of understanding of shooting’s contribution to conservation.”
Channel 4 Green and Pleasant Land