The thin end of the wedge for shooting

Natural Resources Wales' consultation on proposals to licence and restrict the management of game-birds is stirring passionate opposition.
CdW & Jackdaw shooting

“This consultation’s stirring passions in the countryside community: it’s vital that this emotion – supported by your expertise and experience – is channelled into a strong and informed response which NRW – and the Government – will feel,” says Charles de Winton, CLA Cymru Surveyor. “Act Now! is the message from Aim to Sustain, the partnership of game-management and rural bodies of which the CLA is a member. We really must put-up a strong fight - and please play your part!”

“To make the strongest case, we need to engage with a force of numbers – and back it up with the positive facts that game management has a massive positive role to play in our sustainable environment: shaping the landscape, growing our rural economy and also a vital manifestation of our culture.”

“CLA Cymru, will be responding formally to the consultation: and we welcome your views and expertise to add to this. However I urge all those who have an interest in shooting to take part: from those whose livelihood depends on rearing game: keepers and managers of shooting businesses – to those who benefit indirectly: the manager of the pub, hotel or B&B which relies on the business in the winter low-season.”

“We’ve good reason to sense that the proposed restrictions, are the thin end of the wedge.

“The proposals set into motion a process of creeping regulation which will metaphorically “whittle the stick to nothing” over time. Legislation here in Wales may set a precedent which could be followed in England.”

Charles de Winton, CLA Cymru Rural Surveyor

Charles adds, “We must be sceptical about the words in the consultation that the ethics of game shooting are not in the scope of the review. It follows this message with the words “in consideration of the social and wellbeing effects of game shooting, we have recognised that some people fundamentally disagree with the shooting of wild quarry for sport.” These words reflect Welsh Government policy, given directly to us by a Welsh Government Minister in the recent past. Not so long ago we recall that some lawful shooting businesses tell us they were declined support from the pandemic Emergency Resilience Fund apparently on arbitrary ethical grounds, placing shooting with gambling and pornography.”

“The premise of the proposals is that pheasant and red legged partridge are non-native and pose a threat to native biodiversity or habitats. The consultation tackles three basic questions: to what degree is there a problem in how game-birds are managed; how effective are the existing voluntary approaches to manage game-birds; and what capacity exists to manage any new approach – and a proposed new approach includes a licence which sets standards and conditions to be met, and a charge.”

“Working with partner organisations our mission is to provide an informed consultation response. This is likely to include thoughts about how some of NRW’s objectives can be met with minimal impact on game-rearing businesses. Part of the response, of course will be to stress that game-management creates secure, highly-skilled jobs, it provides vital income for rural businesses in the winter – including indirect economic benefit in the low-season to accommodation providers and the hospitality sector. In addition the industry is closely associated with environmental care and bio-conservation and contributes to the health and wellbeing of many – the opposite, in fact, to the basic premises of the proposals.”