Country groups say that a new survey by the Campaign for National Parks, asking whether shooting should be banned , exposes its ignorance of the role shooting plays
The Countryside Alliance (CA) and BASC are seeking to educate the Campaign for National National Parks (CNP) about the role that shooting plays in the countryside, after the organisation launched a survey asking whether shooting should be banned in National Parks.
The CNP is celebrating its 80th anniversary with an online survey asking people how they use National Parks and how they think parks should be managed in the future.
BASC noted that: “In a section asking respondents what activities they enjoy doing in National Parks, there is no mention of shooting. But shooting is specified in a section asking what activities should be banned in National Parks.”
Criticising the inclusion of such a question in the survey, CA chairman Tim Bonner said that highlighting shooting as something to ban, rather than something to celebrate “betrays the people and wildlife that it supports”. He added: “We fully back the stated aims of the CNP in protecting and promoting National Parks, but alienating a significant proportion of those who live and work in them is not the way to go about it.”
Ignorance of the important role shooting plays
However, it now appears that the question was included in the survey not as a deliberate attack on shooting, but rather due to an ignorance of the important role that it plays in National Parks and the countryside in general.
Liam Stokes, CA head of shooting campaigns, explained that the CNP had been contacted and were receptive to shooters’ concerns about the survey, but had stated that due to its format, the survey could not be changed at that time. Instead, the CNP said they would remain alert to the potential for anti-shooting bias once the results were analysed.
BASC also sought to clarify the CNP’s position. Christopher Graffius, BASC director of communications, said: “Having spoken to this charity I was left with the impression that they really didn’t understand the important role that shooting plays in National Parks. The way in which their survey was constructed reflected this lack of knowledge.
“The best response from those who shoot is to complete the survey, ensuring that they list shooting as a recreation they would like to see in National Parks and opposing the prevention of shooting in National Parks. A large response from shooters will underline the point.”
Richard Ali, the chief executive of BASC, has also written to Fiona Howie, the CNP chief executive to encourage her to learn more about shooting and the major benefits it delivers to National Parks.
Highlighting the contribution to conservation and the rural economy that shooting makes, Mr Ali wrote: “I am sure that you would not wish to damage something that does so much good in rural areas and would like to offer you the chance to find out more about shooting in National Parks and work with you to ensure that visitors to National Parks realise the contribution that it makes.”
You can complete the survey here.