Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Ethical hunting

Organisations from the RSPB to the LACS are good at creating catchy slogans to support their campaigns. Shooters, on the other hand, are rather rubbish at it. We're guilty of sitting in the corner sulking 'it's not fair' and 'they don't understand us'. Well, it's not and they don't, but moping won't solve anything. Actually, it just makes it look like we might have something to hide.

So I propose a new campaign, working title "Ethical Hunters". We'll work up a statement of what an 'Ethical Hunter' is and what he/she stands for. Shooters can sign the pledge, wear the T-shirt, etc. Nothing compulsory, no testing or certification - it's just a statement of what we believe in. It'll stress the benefits of healthy outdoor activity, oneness with nature, upholding cultural traditions and values, respect for the quarry and for wildlife generally, responsible wildlife management, sustainable harvesting of natural resources.

And in the next phase, we'll ask other organisations to show their support. Once they've signed up, they can display the official logo "We support Ethical Hunting". We'll start with the obvious shooting organisations, manufacturers etc. And then we'll move on: RSPB perhaps, government bodies, local councils. Who knows, some of the anti organisations would find it hard to argue against signing up.

Right, that's the plan. And it's not a million miles from some of the programmes already running in the USA, where they tend to be well ahead of us on PR (eg Hunt Fair Chase). Now you can all bombard me with the pitfalls that I've overlooked!

UPDATE: It's up and running - see www.ethicalhunters.org.uk

6 comments:

vicky said...

Sign me up!

For me ethical hunting is about a sustainable harvest of wild game or the sympathetic rearing and harvest of game. It must encompass caring for the environment and improving habitat for both game and non-game species. It must mean taking every precaution to prevent quarry suffering; birds presened/taken at a suitable range by guns who have sufficient training or an experienced loader and having sufficient well trained dogs to deal with runners. Shoots releasing game should have a maximum stocking density both in pens and across the shoot as a hole. For stalkers access to a tracking dog must be part of hunting ethically.

What you call the campaign worries me a bit; hunting means only fox hunting to many members of the public, but field sports is not great either as 'sport' gives the wrong impression too...Ethical Wild Harvest? Not very snappy. Hmmmm

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Great idea - sign me up too
SBW

Alan Tilmouth said...

Only one pitfall I can see James, ethics should really be compulsory, otherwise it would just sound like spin from the media.

Murphyfish said...

James,
I certainly find your idea appealing and I agree that ‘hunting’, as a generalization, in this country does receive the rough end of the stick as far as publicity is concerned. I would not class myself as an out and out hunter but more of a forager willing to take from nature’s harvest as long as it does not impact upon the environment from whence whatever I’m harvesting (whether it’s rabbit, trout, sloes or black berries etc) comes. I think that some of the problem with people’s perception of hunting is derived from a lack of understanding of how their cellophane wrapped chicken fillets magically appear upon the local supermarket’s shelf! Presenting hunting as a way of managing and preserving tracts of wild, managed, nature has, as you say, been taken aboard over the pond and with some subtle education and publicity could well take off here.
I agree with Vicky’s comments and also that perhaps the campaign title needs some thought, ecologically managed harvesting? Again not the catchiest of slogans (well I am just a grease monkey) but sign myself up immediately you get this off the ground.

Regards, Murphyfish

James Marchington said...

Thanks for your input, all of you - lots of interesting ideas there. There's a lot of thought behind the title 'Ethical Hunting'. Part of the point is to link the two ideas in the mind of the public, show that there are such people, and differentiate them from 'shooters' which is pretty much the same as 'gunman' in the public perception. There are some good reasons for using the words 'hunting' or 'hunters' too. The term is well accepted across Europe as well as in North America, where it is generally associated with the full range of positive attitudes to conservation etc - so we could link in with similar movements elsewhere in the world. Plus I'm keen to find a description that isn't mealy-mouthed, but which the public can instantly understand and feel positive about. I don't have the research to back me up, but my gut feeling is that the average British Joe Public will get what 'Ethical Hunting' means, and will feel positive about it (there were signs of this on, for instance, the Kill It Cook It Eat It tv programme).
Or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely?

vicky said...

No, no- right tree! Perhaps it's just that we need to educate modern brit on what 'we' mean by 'hunting'. Lets get this started! I'm sure if you wanted celebs there are several who would be involved- chefs are expecially useful' Jamie, Hugh F-W, Marco P-W have all showed harvesting nature in a good light....we need to leap on the back of that.