On 18 July 2019 Wild Justice, the crowd-funded extremist anti-shooting campaign, announced that it was writing to Defra to challenge the release of pheasants and partridges on the grounds that these conflicted with the requirements of the Habitats Directive. BASC believes that the Wild Justice case is weak, misinterprets European law and ignores the benefits of shooting to the environment.
We have instructed lawyers that, if any legal action results, BASC should be registered as an ‘interested party’ to oppose the claim. We have also briefed supportive MPs and Peers, who have spoken to the government and have received assurances that any legal challenge will be “robustly defended”.
In a statement issued to the press, Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said:
“This is another extremist attack on shooting by those associated with the League Against Cruel Sports that ignores the well-documented evidence of the benefits of shooting to conservation and the wider environment.
“The Code of Good Shooting Practice, which sets out the framework for sustainable shooting, includes reference to Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust research which sets out figures for sustainable game bird releasing that do not damage the environment.
“Studies show that well-managed shooting is of benefit to the environment and conservation organisations and the government has acknowledged the benefit of shooting to the environment. For example, shoots maintain 25,000 hectares of cover crops which provide important sources of food and shelter for songbirds, particularly during the winter, and shoots actively manage 500,000 hectares of woodland and 100,000 hectares of copses for the benefit of the environment.
“Shooting influences 14 million hectares of rural land management and almost two million hectares are actively managed for conservation. It is estimated that shooting provides for 3.9 million work days being spent on conservation each year, which is the equivalent of 16,000 full-time conservation jobs.
“Without driven shooting the rural environment, and our economy, would be significantly poorer.”