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Letters to the Spalding Guardian editor: February 25, 2021

They do so much for economy and conservation

In response to the recent Animal Aid letter (February 4 Guardian), I felt it required a little insight into shooting in the UK. Firstly, I am an ex-serviceman and have served both in the UK and Overseas.

I have always used various types of arms and ammunition both in civilian and military life.

I have never shot at live quarry in any way, shape or form, but fully support an industry that provides such far reaching support and income across a multitude of Industries, disciplines and Economies.

Shooters spend £2.5billion each year on goods and services, shooting supports the equivalent of 74,000 full time jobs, shooting is worth £2billion to the UK economy.

Shooting is involved in the management of two-thirds of the rural land area.

There are an estimated four million airgun owners – of which 1.6m shoot live quarry.

600,000 people in the UK shoot live quarry, clay pigeons or targets.

Shoot providers spend nearly £250million a year on conservation.

Shooters spend 3.9 million work days on conservation – that’s the equivalent of 16,000 full-time jobs.

Two million hectares are actively managed for conservation as a result of shooting.

Chris (full name and address supplied)

via email

John Elson's Spalding Guardian cartoon. (44568158)
John Elson's Spalding Guardian cartoon. (44568158)

120 horses were killed while racing last year

Animal Aid is at the forefront in campaigning for race horses.

We expose disturbing issues that affect their welfare.

Figures just released by Animal Aid for 2020 show shocking deaths and whip abuse across racecourses in Great Britain.

Readers may be surprised to know that 130 race horses were killed as a result of racing in 2020 – all of the horses suffered horrific deaths. Animal Aid’s Horse Deathwatch website (www.horsedeathwatch.com )names racing’s victims and the circumstances surrounding their fatal races.

We have also led the campaign to ban the use of the whip in racing.

Racing allows jockeys to hit their horses for ‘encouragement’ with seven strikes deemed ‘acceptable’ in a flat race and eight strikes in a jump race. Alarmingly, these rules are repeatedly broken year-on-year.

In 2020 there were 299 breaches of the rules for hitting horses above the strike limits or on the ‘wrong’ part of their body or for using excessive force.

For readers who wish to find out more about our horse racing campaign, and to help bring an end to the use of the whip, please visit: www.animalaid.org.uk/banwhip

Fiona Pereira

Campaigns Manager, Animal Aid

Have a heart and help the BHF to raise more funds

To mark National Heart Month this February, I’ve teamed up with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to call on the nation to do at least one thing to improve their heart health, while raising much-needed funds for the charity’s life saving work.

According to a new UK survey by the BHF, many UK adults are more concerned about their physical (63%) and mental health (56%) because of the pandemic and around half (48%) say they feel unhealthier as a result.

Nearly half (46%) also say they’ve put on weight.

The good news is that more than half (54%) of those surveyed are now determined to get more physically active.

National Heart Month is the perfect opportunity to put that intent into action and look after our hearts, particularly at a time when we’re looking for ways to boost our health while following Government guidelines. Taking on an activity such as BHF’s MyCycle or My Step Challenge can help us move more – whether inside our outdoors – and support the charity’s vital work.

Since the start of the pandemic, the BHF has sadly had to cut investment in new research by £50 million, which will delay important scientific breakthroughs. Having been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition as a child, I know all too well the importance of the work they do, which is why I’m encouraging the public to back the BHF and raise funds to help save and improve lives.

Roger Black MBE

British Heart Foundation Ambassador

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: No flowers or chocolates, but the greatest love of all

As I write these words it is Valentine’s Day. So how was yours? Sweet, romantic, full of love? Or corny, commercially exploited and a bit rubbish?

However bad it was, it wasn’t as bad as the fate that befell St Valentine, the man who this day supposedly celebrates.

Valentine was a Bishop in Rome who was imprisoned, beheaded and buried on February 14 269AD for helping persecuted Christians and marrying Christian couples.

While in prison he prayed for his jailer’s daughter and her blindness was healed. On the day of his execution, he left her a note signed ‘Your Valentine’. Not very romantic but certainly full of love.

Valentine was not an idiot. He knew that his actions went against the will of the Roman Empire and may lead to his death.

He was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for doing the right thing.

He acted out of love for his community.

Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Jesus would go on to sacrifice himself because of His love for all mankind.

No flowers, no chocolates, just agony and a cross – but the greatest love of all for all.

Miles Green

Harvest Church, Spalding

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