Shadow Defra Secretary of State, Sue Hayman, has either asked a convicted animal rights extremist to draft an article on grouse shooting, or has directly copied statements from his website.

Ms Hayman published an article on the Labour List website on 13th August which included sections showing remarkable similarity to articles published by convicted animal rights extremist Luke Steele on his website. Mr Steele’s history of animal rights campaigning is detailed here.

Further sections of Ms Hayman’s article appear to have been directly lifted from copy produced by the League Against Cruel Sports and the animal rights pressure group Animal Aid. A full breakdown of the article and the sections that appear to have been copied has been circulated to the press.

Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner said: “Either Ms Hayman has worked with an animal rights extremist convicted of revolting crimes to write this article in her name, or she has plagiarised his work. In either case it is shocking that she is using the words of someone with Mr Steele’s history as her own, and we suggest Ms Hayman reconsiders whether these words are an accurate reflection of her own views or indeed of the facts.

“The low grouse numbers we are seeing this year are costing hard working people thousands of pounds across rural areas of the country. Instead of showing compassion and understanding, the Labour Party is threatening to condemn them to lost income and livelihoods in perpetuity. The article may claim to be simply calling for a review of grouse shooting, but directly lifting copy from some of the most extreme anti-shooting campaigners tells its own story.

“This article is unfortunately another example of Labour’s slide towards animal rights extremism, which runs in direct opposition to research carried out by the Fabian Society which showed that Labour needs to focus on issues that actually matter to rural people if it is to win in rural constituencies. The Labour Party needs to show the countryside that it is not too late to reverse this slide, and the Countryside Alliance will continue to be open to working with any MP interested in developing policies that work for rural Britain.”