BGA Response to Natural England Revoke of General Licences

We need to regulate on our terms, protecting the game industry

Date: 24th April 2019

Natural England revoke three general licences (GL04/05/06) for controlling certain wild birds

For Immediate Release

Yesterday, Natural England announced changes to three general licences for controlling specific wild bird species. As from Thursday 25th April Natural England is revoking three general licences for controlling certain wild birds. These licences (GL 04/05/06) cover 16 species of birds including several members of the crow family, Canada goose, some gulls and pigeons.

Natural England have stated that they are working swiftly to put in place alternative measures to allow lawful control of these bird species to continue where necessary. In the interim, anyone needing to control one of these 16 bird species will need to apply for an individual licence. In this case, there appears to have been no consultation with the various shooting organisations such as BASC and the Countryside Alliance.

The British Game Alliance is a supply chain assurance scheme and marketing board for British Game and therefore interested in the impact of control on a wild harvest products.

As one of the species included in this legislation and also a valuable food resource, pigeon is stocked in the supermarkets all year round. The demand for pigeon breasts have grown substantially in recent years. It is a wild harvest product and is one of the most prolific birds in the UK.

Without pigeon control, the threat of decimation of crops will be considerably higher and at a time of focus on feeding ourselves as a nation, this could have a dramatic effect on agriculture and it’s yields exacerbating the continuing threats that agriculture faces.

As a food focussed organisation, the British Game Alliance will be working hard to secure a place around the table for further consultations on this subject.

Tom Adams, Managing Director of the British Game Alliance says, ‘This sudden dictation highlights need for self-regulation and the importance of best practice in all areas of shooting and processing game has never been higher. The British Game Alliance audit provides a thorough and vital support to everyone involved in the game meat industry and promotes a sustainable system for the industry as a whole. This recent legislation highlights exactly why we need to regulate on our terms, protecting the game industry and ensuring it is not done for us.’

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PR Contact: Claire Zambuni