by Countryside Alliance

The Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance has written a letter to the Vice Chancellor of Reading University, Robert Van de Noort, following the University's recent decision to end game-shooting on its land.

The decision has provoked public criticism from countryside groups including the Countryside Alliance. 

The Countryside Alliance have called into question the decision making process.

In his letter to the University, Mr Bonner accused the University of going "against available evidence."

"It is a sad day when a university, especially one of Reading's standing in the agricultural world, values the prejudice of animal rights activists over facts and science."

Mr Bonner added: "The environmental health benefits of the shoot at Hall Farm were documented.

"The shoot has undertaken an ambitious program of tree planting, planted and maintained cover crops each year that provide valuable habitat for all wildlife, provided supplementary feed throughout autumn and winter which benefits songbirds as well as gamebirds, and has undertaken predator control, allowing the return of red listed farmland birds such as the grey partridge."

The University Executive Board decided on Monday, November 11, but the backlash shows no sign of going away.

Mr Bonner concluded: "Your decision is damaging to your students and to your reputation as a university, especially in the rural community from which many of your students have come."

The Countryside Alliance has requested the University urgently 'revisit' their decision: "The decision made by your Executive Board was clearly neither based on evidence or principle and we would ask that the university revisit it urgently to protect not only the biodiversity of the land it is steward of, but also its own reputation as an academic institution."

A full copy of the letter can be found here

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