This morning the National Game Dealers’ Association has announced that its members will no longer be accepting lead-shot game from July 2022. The British Game Alliance is ready to support its shoots and its registered processors through this important transition.
The British Game Alliance supported the shooting sector’s commitment to a five year phase-out of lead, announced in early 2020, precisely because the stockists and retailers of BGA Assured Game were telling us that they would not tolerate lead-shot birds for long. We therefore welcome the leadership the National Game Dealers’ Association (NGDA) has shown today, providing a clear timeframe for this transition for all shoots supplying game into the commercial food chain.
We are consulting with supermarkets, the NGDA, our Advisory Committee drawn from across the shooting sector, BGA Shoots and our registered game dealers, to put in place systems and protocols to support our community through this change. We anticipate different BGA Shoots will have different needs and different responses to the announcement, and we will not be pushing any one solution. We remain committed to the five year phase-out, while supporting both the NGDA and the stockists of BGA Assured Game who need a lead-free product.
There will be concern among many of our stakeholders today, and we are here to listen and respond to those concerns. But the reality, as we have discerned from multiple conversations with major retailers, is that the NGDA’s customers simply do not want lead in their products, and the market for lead-shot game is set to dwindle. I would also like to highlight the opportunities. We have heard from many stockists that the ceiling for game meat is so high, if only we can source a BGA Assured, lead-free product. The NGDA announcement allows us to press home the health and environmental qualities of game, as a sustainable, lean, locally-sourced and quintessentially British meat. This is a message that major retailers are ready to hear and amplify.
We have no doubt that the future of game meat is a BGA Assured, lead-free supply chain, and that is what we intend to deliver for the part of our sector that supplies the commercial market. But we remain an organisation delivering Shoot Assurance to every part of the shooting community, to shoots large and small, creating a self-regulatory shield that will safeguard all our futures. Our commitment to self-assurance accessible to all will not change as we seek to support those enterprises moving to a lead-free model. Our mission has always been twofold, to protect our members through self-regulation, and to boost the consumption of game. A consumer of game is the surest friend of game shooting, and supporting the transition to lead-free is the surest way to increase our number of friends.