Green Party to ban ‘sport’ shooting
The main political parties in this 2015 general election have now published their manifestos. Some are more worrying than others, most notably the Green Party. Through some careful research and sifting through each manifesto, we can now bring you each party commitments to the rural way of life.
Much of the Countryside Alliance’s election manifesto has been included in the political parties manifestos including commitments to housing, food labeling, and broadband. You can read more about this on the Country Alliance website.
Before we get on to the main topic of talk here which is the Green Party’s determination to ban ‘sport’ shooting, we must first mention the Conservative party. The Conservatives have announced in their manifesto their commitment to challenging the current Hunting Act. They further acknowledge their commitment to protecting hunting, shooting and fishing. All of which are greatly welcomed by us all for sure!
Green Party to end grouse shooting and ‘sport’ shooting
Since being able to sift through the Green Party’s 2015 general election manifesto, our eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to some worrying statements. Most notably, the following Green Party statement:
“On other animal issues we would: Maintain and strengthen the ban on hunting with dogs and extend this ban to all hunting of all animals for sport or pleasure”
“End the practice of grouse shooting and other ‘sport’ shooting”
These are just two statements that first drew our eye, but there are more, including the call to end the badger cull and to conduct a full review of horse racing. As a keen countryman, the idea of so many commitments to ban so many things all in one space utterly scared me to be frank.
If you are reading this, the chances are you enjoy partaking in country sports. Whether this be through fishing or shooting. We love our sport and I think it is only right that every one of us defends it in a polite and diplomatic manner. Even if one was to put aside feelings surrounding the enjoyment of shooting, the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) recently published research that factually prove shooting was and is beneficial to the UK economy. Here’s what they found:
- Shooters in the United Kingdom spend £2.5 billion each year on goods and services
- The shooting industry supports the equivalent of 74,000 full time jobs
- Shooting is worth £2 billion to the UK economy (GVA)
- Shooting is involved in the management of two-thirds of the rural UK land area
- 600,000 people in the UK today shoot live quarry, clay pigeons and targets
- Shooting provides nearly £250 million a year on conservation
- Shooters spend 3.9 million working days on conservation (equivalent to 16,000 full-time jobs)
- Two million hectares are actively managed for conservation as a result of shooting
You can read the full BASC report by visiting the BASC website
What does sport shooting mean?
In the Green Party’s manifesto as detailed above, they stated that they would “end the practice of grouse shooting and other ‘sport’ shooting. What about if you are someone who is in favour of banning live quarry shooting but enjoys a few hours down the clay ground? – In my eyes and many other peoples eyes, I view clay shooting as a sport. Does this mean that the Green Party would look to ban clay shooting also? In that paragraph, I couldn’t see anything that refereed to the exclusion of clay shooting from their proposed ban on ‘sport’ shooting.
Our understanding of the main points:
The Green Party want to strengthen the hunting ban to include a ban on all hunting of animals for sport or pleasure. They further commit to ending the badger cull, the use of snares and to end all ‘sport’ shooting.
The Conservatives in their manifesto have detailed their intention to protect hunting, shooting and fishing. They will furthermore also give Parliament the opportunity to repeal the hunting ban.
The Labour Party according to their 2015 general election manifesto will look to defend the hunting ban and end the badger cull. Labour have also mentioned they will deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting and further end the subsidy of firearm licences.
The Liberal Democrats have stated in their manifesto that they will only support the existing badger cull if they are shown to be effective, humane and safe. They to the best of our knowledge have not made any mention to the existing Hunting Act nor the ban on shooting overall.
UKIP unfortunately have not to the best of our knowledge specified anything in respect of shooting or the hunting ban in their 2015 general election manifesto.