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The Countryside Alliance has intervened in a media storm, after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), publicly criticised a reality TV star and countryman for posting pictures on social media of recently culled deer.
Former Love Island contestant, Ollie Williams, had taken to Instagram to post a photograph of himself, next to three culled Chinese Water Deer, an invasive species.
In a caption alongside the photo, Mr Williams wrote: " A fantastic morning on the Chinese Water Deer. They are prolific breeders with a hell of an appetite for seedling crops".
While some of his social media followers reacted with praise, some responded in the comments section with outrage, calling him 'disgusting'. Others went further, vowing to 'unfollow' him.
Seldom a group to shy away from publicity, PETA were quick to offer their condemnation too.
Taking to the Mail Online, one of their spokespeople erupted: " The UK public objects to gratuitous violence, so it's no surprise that Ollie Williams is in the firing line for his callous behaviour. PETA urges him to retire his rifle and recognise that animals deserve care and protection, not to be hunted down and shot".
Once made aware of the article, the Countryside Alliance contacted the Mail to present a counter-narrative, which was subsequently published in full.
James Aris, the Alliance's Shooting Campaign Manager, said in a statement: "All serious conservationists are agreed that we need to be culling deer to protect the environment and other wildlife. There are more deer in the United Kingdom than at any time since the Norman Conquest, and in many places, densities are far too high.
"Overgrazing by deer has been having a huge impact on other species, as well as the biodiversity of our environment due to the excessive browsing of vegetation, including shooting shrubs and sapling trees, that must be protected so they grow to soak up carbon and help fight climate change.
"With a minuscule carbon footprint – and probably the largest variety of environmental benefits of any meat – venison as a food source is hard to argue with. It is packed with protein, zinc and iron, as well as having the added bonus of being good for the climate. It is irresponsible of PETA or any other animal rights group to criticise those conducting this vital service".
Mr Aris added: "It is vital we counter some of the nonsense coming out from groups like PETA and the Alliance will never shy away from promoting and defending the rural way of life in the media".