Animal Aid

Keep gun magazines away from children!

Posted 12 September 2013

National Anti-Shooting Week targets WHSmith

Animal Aid’s ‘Battle Bus’ – a converted ambulance emblazoned with stark protest imagery and messages – will soon be travelling the country as part of a national campaign to have violent shooting magazines moved to the ‘top shelf’, and their sale restricted to over-18s (see below for Battle Bus itinerary).

Outlets such as WHSmith stock magazines that depict the killing of animals for pleasure, and place them within reach of children. Animal Aid supporters will be leafleting outside WHSmith stores during National Anti-Shooting Week (16-22 September), calling on shoppers to support the campaign aims.

Publications, such as Shooting Times, Sporting Gun, Sporting Shooter and Sporting Rifle, encourage and even celebrate the killing of animals, and serve as front-line propagandists for the gun lobby’s drive to encourage more children to take up this ‘sport’. Shooters are featured posing boastfully alongside animals they have just slaughtered. Grinning young children are shown holding up or standing over shot pheasants, rabbits, foxes and pigeons.

A public opinion poll, commissioned by Animal Aid in 2012, showed that the vast majority of people want these magazines consigned to newsagents’ top shelves alongside material of explicit sexual content. They also back a ban on their sale to under-18s.1

Despite the gun lobby crowing that they had forced WHSmith to abandon its ‘till prompt’ policy that is intended to prohibit the sale of gun magazines to under-14s, WHSmith recently reiterated that the till prompt is still in operation. However, when tested, children as young as nine years old were able to purchase them without challenge.2

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler

‘Despite an overwhelming majority of poll respondents backing our call to impose an age restriction on violent pro-shooting publications, retailers like WHSmith continue to make them available to young people. Such magazines attempt to normalise the brutality visited upon animals in the name of sport, and treat them as mere objects to be shot at and killed. It’s a damaging and negative message to send out to young people.’

The Animal Aid ‘Battle Bus’ will visit the following locations:

  • 16 September: Oxford
  • 17 September: Cambridge
  • 18 September: Norwich
  • 19 September: Peterborough
  • 20 September: York
  • 21 September: Darlington

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