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Lawshall: Bushcraft course that teaches children trapping skills has been backed by readers despite concerns newfound skills could be used on cats

PUBLISHED: 15:43 19 August 2014

Paula Harber in her wildlife area (the story is about a debate on whether children should be taught how to trap animals).

Paula Harber in her wildlife area (the story is about a debate on whether children should be taught how to trap animals).

A bushcraft course which teaches children skills including how to set traps for animals has been overwhelmingly backed by readers, amid fears youngsters may test their new skills on neighbours’ pets and garden wildlife.

Web comments

Suffolk Boy

I think these people need to remember that they live in the countryside and wake up a little. In order to conserve rarer species some pest species inevitably need controlling - mink and rats are two prime examples and some conservation charities carry out such work at key locations themselves. Anyone can go onto the internet and find out how to set a trap - whether it will done properly is then only down to the skill of the novice trapper. I’d sooner send a youngster on a proper course where he/she can learn how to set and locate traps properly, minimising suffering and be taught the responsibilities around frequent checking, safe release of non target species etc.

Terence Manning

Why do kids need a trapping course? Teach them something useful.

Andy S

Of course much better to let them sit in front of computers, blowing things up and killing people, hope these children don’t have history lessons in school or they may be damaged for life.

John Burls

Maybe kids can find out these “skills” elsewhere, but teaching them to kill anything is disgusting and degrading.

Three quarters of people who responded to a poll on our website said they would let their children take part in the course, run by environmental education charity the Green Light Trust, based in Lawshall.

Last week we reported the concerns of villagers Paula and Barry Harber who feared the Primitive Hunting Day, aimed at youngsters aged from seven to 13, could lead to participants setting traps for people’s pets.

In a letter, Mrs Harber said she was worried that “having learnt some of these so called ‘skills’, some children might practise them on the neighbours’ cats and other wildlife in their own garden.”

The story has sparked much debate on our website and social media – with 136 of the 182 who voted in an online poll backing the course. Meanwhile, 42 were against and four were undecided.

Our website has also been inundated with comments both for and against.

Last night, Green Light Trust chief executive Ashley Seaborne said he felt “encouraged” by people’s responses to the article and the results of the poll.

He said: “We encourage young people in particular to play outdoors and give them skills and knowledge to help them develop holistically and also take an informed interest in protecting our environment.

“At a time when we are seeing increases in child obesity, and an increase in the numbers of young people suffering stress-related illness, it is even more important they learn how to connect with nature. We are seeing an increased interest in our courses from all age groups, which can only be good for the health of the environment and the health and wellbeing of people.”

He confirmed no animals would be trapped on the day nor would any traps be left unguarded and no traps would remain after the day.

One reader who contacted the EADT said she was “shocked” to read the trust was teaching children to set snares and traps.

She said: “Why on earth would you encourage children to do this? Why would children need to know how to do this?

“And although the course may be in controlled circumstances, when they go home they may well end up carrying this out unsupervised, actually hurting or killing an animal.”

Martin Adams, from Forest for Our Children – Lawshall’s Community Wood commented on the EADT website: “Our village of Lawshall has a long history of getting children engaged with nature and the local woodlands and these bushcraft courses are another example of this which should be applauded.”

“I am delighted that my son and two of his friends will be on one of these bushcraft courses next week and I expect the respect they already have for the flora and fauna around them to be enhanced not diminished by the experience.”

He added the course should be seen in context as one of three days teaching these ancient skills, which also include a day of shelter building and a day learning tracking skills.

For more information on the Green Light Trust’s courses visit www.greenlighttrust.org

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