ALREADY reeling from the effects of disease and bad weather, owners of Yorkshire shooting estates were over the weekend seething with indignation at the Government's latest plans to tighten laws on the ownership of shotguns.
Income from shooting parties can make the difference between profit and loss for some smaller estates but several had to cancel shoots on the so-called Glorious Twelfth last Thursday because of a shortage of birds caused by disease and wet weather.
To this financial loss has been added anger over the curb on shotgun ownership, designed to reduce gun crimes in the inner cities, which the Home Office is proposing in a consultation paper.
The CLA's Yorkshire regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: "People at the Home Office appear to assume a connection between the lawful use of shotguns and rifles in the countryside for sport and pest control and the 'gun culture' of our inner cities. This is both ludicrous and unproven.
"The consultation paper is suggesting extra controls on the licensing of shotguns thus creating a bureaucratic and onerous task for the police and making it unnecessarily difficult for farmers and shooting enthusiasts to apply for licences.
"Not only is it revealed that the Home Office failed to consult Defra and examine the impact its proposals would have on rural communities, but also there is no recognition of shooting's contribution to the economy."