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Grass e-route - 30th June

The grass e-route for 30th June. This week, the National Shooting Survey, congratulations to CA Ireland and events this month. 

  1. National Shooting Survey
  2. Calling rural businesswomen
  3. Congratulations to CA Ireland
  4. Events in July
  5. Quotes of the week


1. Animals and the stiff upper lip

I remember commenting about the Emperor of Exmoor last year and the furore surrounding the story. I remarked that the “British ability to maintain a stiff-upper lip when facing war, flooding or budget cuts can quiver uncontrollably at the death of a single animal.”

Last week’s debate on circus animals was another case in point, reinforcing as it does my view about our national psyche. A packed House of Commons and a fevered reaction from our elected representatives greeted Mark Pritchard MP’s debate on banning wild animals from circuses. Another story this week, when the actions of a Police Sergeant led to the deaths of two Police dogs in a hot car, bumped impending strikes, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan into the further reaches of the newspapers.

We are a nation of animal lovers. The Countryside Alliance represents hundreds of thousands of animal lovers who own and keep animals to a high welfare standard. A caller to a Radio 5 Live debate on the Police dogs recounted, voice breaking, how much he still misses his deceased boxer. It was a member of his family. We all know how that feels. But I would urge a sense of proportion when approaching stories about animals, and an understanding of the crucial differences between wild and domesticated animals.

Animal welfare/rights is seen as an "easy" issue in the sense that everyone seems to have an opinion, and for anyone making a passionate or knee-jerk response, an informed opinion is not necessary. As John Webster, Emeritus Professor at Bristol University says: “It requires very little knowledge to care passionately about animals. It requires a great deal of understanding to care properly for them.” The many polls you see on hunting are a testament to that statement – a position of little knowledge bowing to an imagined moral standpoint: “I don’t know about hunting but I hold a very strong view on it.”

There is a clear difference between wild and domesticated animals, yet so often these different states are confused. Battery farming, wildlife management, pet ownership, the training of working dogs – these are all radically different circumstances for the animals involved. And yet you will encounter more hysteria about foxhounds expressing their natural behaviour than you ever will about battery hens demonstrably unable to express theirs.

At the Countryside Alliance we believe each case should be judged on its own merits; if an animal is seen to be mistreated by a circus then the authorities ought to be involved but, as we have seen with the Hunting Act, catch-all legislation rarely works and can end up providing no benefit to anyone concerned.

We should always ask if an animal’s life could be better and whether changing legislation and the status quo can make the lives of all animals better. We owe care to animals, but that care, and a person’s need to feel morally upright, cannot be measured by breast beating and moral outrage.

 Alice Barnard, Chief Executive

2. National Shooting Survey

The Countryside Alliance’s Shooting Survey was set up earlier this year to investigate the number of young people coming into shooting, and how they are being introduced. The response so far has been encouraging, with thousands of people of all ages taking the survey, keen to do their bit. It is vital that as many people as possible take part - it only takes two minutes. Click here for the survey, which can also be reached via the Countryside Alliance's Campaign for Shooting webpage.

The survey is online until February and all entrants will be entered into a prize draw for a Beretta Silver Pigeon. If you have constructive views on how to promote shooting then please get in touch at: 

3. Calling rural businesswomen

The NatWest everywoman Awards, the national search for a female entrepreneur, closes to nominations on 22nd July 2011 so nominate now  The NatWest everywoman Awards have been running since 2003 and were established to celebrate women who have started and run successful businesses.

The Awards categories are inspired by the ancient Greek goddesses. Hestia is the Goddess of Hearth and Home and the award in her name is given to the most inspirational and successful female entrepreneur who runs a business in a remote rural location and makes a contribution to the local community. The Countryside Alliance is a media partner in these awards and our support for rural enterprise has earned us a place on the judging panel, so if you know of a female entrepreneur please nominate her now.

The awards will be of great interest to all the women in rural businesses in Britain today and are free to enter so please nominate today.

Applications can be made online at: until 22 July. The winners will be announced at a ceremony held on 7th December 2011 at The Dorchester Hotel in London, attended by influential businesswomen, politicians, media and VIPs who will celebrate their achievements.

4. Congratulations to CA Ireland

Congratulations to Lyall Plant, Chief Executive of Countryside Alliance Ireland, who was the proud recipient of a ‘Lifetime Commitment Award’ presented to him by Paul Pringle at the Press Reception for the Great Game Fairs of Ireland 2011, held recently at Shanes Castle.

Lyall said “I was delighted (albeit shocked!) to receive this award on behalf of the Team at Countryside Alliance Ireland. This acknowledges all the hard work and effort that has gone on to protect country sports and our rural way of life. However, we are not complacent and we shall continue to defend the rural way of life we all so enjoy for generations to come.”

5. Events in July

July is a busy month for shows and events, so here are a few key rural events for the month, with the websites and dates you need to know:

12-14th July, the Great Yorkshire Show at the Showground, Harrogate. Visit the Countryside Alliance on our stand where amongst other things you can enjoy honey from Countryside Alliance Award winning Sheffield Honey Company, top local produce from Countryside Alliance Award winning Ainsty Farm Shop or even pick out a new gun for next season from Brown Trout gunsmiths.

13th July - Children's Countryside Day. The event is being held at North Somerset Showground near Wraxall and is an educational day for local children aged 7-11 to learn about rural crafts, skills, trades and professions. Contact Alison Hawes for information on

16 & 17 July - Brightling Horse Trials celebrates its Silver Jubilee. For more information, visit or telephone 01424 838241.

15-17 July - Kent Show. The Kent Show will be held at Detling, Kent. Come and see Regional Director Michelle Nudds and the team on the Countryside Alliance stand, right next to the countryside ring!

20th July - The Festival of Hunting. The annual Festival of Hunting will be held at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, on 20th July. The Countryside Alliance will have a presence at this celebration of hunting which is a high point in the summer calendar.

18-21 July - The Royal Welsh Show will be held at Builth Wells. Come along and visit Wales Director Rachel Evans and her team on the CA stand, where chef Matty Thomas will be giving game cooking demos (and tasting!) The stand will also feature a shop with our latest products.

24th July - Coniston Country Fair at Coniston Hall Farm, Coniston, Cumbria. For more details please go to or phone 015394 32469/36611 for more information.

22nd-24th July - The CLA Game Fair will return to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire As ever the Countryside Alliance will have a huge presence at the show:

  • Hounds, gundogs, lurchers, terriers, ferrets and falcons
  • Membership area with restaurant and bar
  • Game-to-Eat campaign demos and tastings with chefs Lee Maycock and Mark Gilchrist
  • Popular cook and countrywoman Clarissa Dickson Wright will be on-stand to sign her books
  • Countryside Alliance Award winners Foxbury Farm
  • “Have a go” on the mechanical horse
  • Fish pedicures for tired Game Fair feet
  • The Roxtons Eight Gun Draw will take place. If you haven’t yet bought your £25 ticket in the draw to win a pheasant or partridge day at a Roxtons shoot for eight guns (worth £14,000) click here.
  • Lessons on the clay lines, where shooting tuition will be available for all ages and abilities. To book a shooting lesson on the clay lines please email

30th July - The 2011 Inter Hunt Polo Challenge at Cheshire Polo Club: The Cheshire Hunt v The Cheshire Forest Hunt. Tickets are £22.50 per person, including welcome drinks and high tea. To buy your ticket, please call Wendy Smith on 07917 617968 or e – 

30th July - The Hoghton Tower Inter - Hunt (Holcombe Harriers, Pendle Forest and Craven Harriers and Vale of Lune Harriers) at Hoghton Tower, Hoghton, Lancashire. Champagne reception and gala dinner 7.30pm - tickets £100 per head. For further information please contact information, please contact the Holcombe Hunt Secretary Kath Smith or 07963 836982

6. Quotes of the week

“I really hate classrooms, I feel they’re confining. If classrooms were outdoors, now that would be good”. Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz reveals support for outdoor education

"...don’t tell me the fox-hunting debate was about animal welfare because I can’t take that hypocrisy. It was class war, and that’s what I hated." Who frontman Roger Daltrey in the Daily Telegraph: Why I brought Tommy back to life

“In a single August night, on one six-mile stretch of the M3 motorway, workers from the Highways Agency picked up 189 bags of trash, weighing in total one ton. We are being swamped by rubbish.” Jeremy Paxman: Besmirching of Britain: Where did the collective urge to wreck our country with litter come from? The Daily Mail

 “If you were a spine-tinglingly brave 21st-century MP and determined, to the point of professional suicide, to address some great cause of suffering, would you start in the big top? Would circuses seem a more important cause than, say, those delicate yet social animals, old people? Or disabled people? Or, if it had to be non-humans, those edible animals soon to be raised here inside US-style factory farms?” Catherine Bennett, “Animals in circuses: if you're going to rebel, find a better cause”, The Observer

 "These figures show the tough choices being made by many motorists, with rural drivers hit the hardest as they have little alternative but to use their cars". Adrian Tink of the RAC quoted on a new RAC survey in a Press Association article:"48% of motorists are 'cutting back on driving'"


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