THE start of the game shooting season in the UK has produced a predictable new phenomenon.

Every autumn extreme animal rights groups crawl from the undergrowth, blinking in the light, with their traditional harsh cries of "Ban it all, ban it all."

True to form, Animal Aid has started using your letters page to mark its territory, as I saw on your letters page last week. Contrary to their opinion, game shooting is a force for good in the countryside. It is supported by Defra and many well-respected countryside and conservation bodies. Rural Affairs Minister Jim Knight recently said in the press: "I can tell you categorically that I have not considered any restrictions which would affect the shooting industry. It is on our agenda to restore the industry. Of course, that isn't to say that there aren't issues to be discussed. But the shooting industry is a vital part of the rural economy. It also plays a vital role in habitat conservation."

Animal Aid takes an extreme view on many issues. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation is a responsible representative body for country shooting which has more than 120,000 members.

We're recognised as working to ensure the highest standards in shooting and related conservation.

Helen Shuker, The British Association for Shooting and Conservation.