WHILE organisers of today’s “No Hunting in National Parks” rally are promoting a peaceful protest, it seems at least one supporter of the cause isn’t playing so nice.
Bega resident and secretary of the Bega Valley Traditional Archers Garry Mallard awoke Wednesday morning to find an offensive sign hung on his front fence reading “Perverts kill animals for fun”.
Even more appalling is there is a school bus stop just adjacent to Mr Mallard’s front entrance.
Thankfully he was alerted to the sign by an early morning walker and was able to remove it before any children arrived for the morning bus to school.
He said around 20 students use the bus stop each morning, mostly primary school “littlies”.
Mr Mallard readily points out he is not in favour of the proposal to allow hunting in national parks, nor is he against it.
Despite this he has been the focus of a number of recent offensive attacks, via email as well as Wednesday morning’s sign.
“Increasingly it’s a not unfamiliar guerrilla tactic,” Mr Mallard said.
“It would just be nice if they could stick to the issue.
“I hope the rally avoids such statements on Friday.
“They have a right to speak out against what they don't agree with - it's the offensive epithets and vilification I object to.”
One of the organisers of the rally, Richard Barcham, was dismayed to learn about the sign.
“I’m very sorry to hear about that, it’s a really horrible act,” he said.
“I’m confident we won’t have any signs like that or any disruptive behaviour at the rally.
“It’s a peaceful rally from people genuinely concerned about the possibility of irresponsible recreational hunters inside our national parks.”
Mr Mallard said because he has spoken out against the bad behaviour of some anti-hunting protestors there was a “silly presumption I’m in favour of it”.
“The reality is I’m not in favour and I’m not against – we don’t have enough detail on how it will be implemented to make a decision, no-one does,” he said.
“I really think it’s irresponsible to frame arguments without any of the detail.
“Debate at any cost, without regard to consequences, I have a real problem with.
“And I believe it’s really harmful to our small community.”
Mr Mallard said he and his wife were initially reluctant to approach the media over this latest, very public, attack, but believed “it’s important not to give in to bullying”.
“This seems to be very common with other guys I’ve spoken to with any sort of profile,” Mr Mallard said.
“You need to make a decision whether it forces you to batten down and leave the debate.
“I choose to remain engaged in the debate.”