The UK’s largest shooting organisation is urging the RSPB to consider the positive evidence of shooting’s benefits when it reviews its policy on game-bird shooting.
The RSPB announced at its AGM at the weekend that it would be examining its policy on game bird shooting and associated land management.
The review could take up to a year and the organisation has said it will consider the views of stakeholders.
Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said: “We have already made contact with the RSPB to ask how we can feed into this review.
“While there will be fears from some quarters within shooting that this review could lead to the RSPB creating a hard-line anti-shooting policy, BASC believes that the RSPB will, in fact, conduct the review in the manner expected of an evidence-based organisation.
“That evidence will point the review directly and clearly towards shooting as an activity that massively benefits the economic and environmental make-up of the British countryside.
“Research and reports consistently highlight the benefits of shooting, which is involved in the management of two-thirds of the UK’s rural land area.”
The RSPB has said it will conduct the review “informed by the views of members and other stakeholders” who have engaged with the organisation for decades.
BASC is acknowledging that some of its members are also members of the RSPB and is asking them to feed into the review.
Mrs Bedell added: “In announcing this review, the RSPB has said it is responding to growing concerns about the environmental impact of shooting. It’s important for the RSPB and for shooting that does not translate the loud protestations of certain elements of its membership into an anti-shooting agenda.
“It should be recognised by the RSPB’s policy-makers that the wider shooting community has worked hard to address issues that are central to shooting’s desire to have a sustainable, ethical future.
“As an organisation, BASC will be highlighting that good work to the RSPB as part of this review process. But BASC members who are members of the RSPB should also have an individual voice in this process.
“The scientific benefits that shooting brings to biodiversity, the economy and social well-being are well researched and documented and as many people as possible should be passing that evidence though to the RSPB.”