The new Executive Chairman of the Countryside Alliance, Sir Barney White-Spunner (could Hardy have invented a better name?) is urging children to take up shooting to identify with the country. Sir Barney, please note:
- guns were designed for killing at that is still their primary function. Even children know that;
- putting a gun in kids’ hands is to identify them personally with the images of violence that permeate our media;
- guns should not be domesticated in town our country. They should be available and used only exceptionally;
- using them for “sport” is predicated upon the user gaining pleasure from the death and suffering of a living creature. Such pleasure is degrading;
- if shooting is necessary in the countryside for certain specific reasons, it should be considered as a necessary evil rather than a source of delight.
There is of course abundant natural slaughter in nature within the complex interactions and balances between hunters and preys. This does not justify our adding to it for motives that gratuitous, unnecessary and unethical.