BASC launches Welsh manifesto

BASC's Welsh Manifesto for Sustainable Shooting Sports seeks to ensure that all parliamentarians recognise the value of shooting in Wales.

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Value of shooting in Wales highlighted to Senedd election candidates

BASC Wales is calling on candidates in the upcoming Senedd elections to recognise the value of shooting to Wales with the launch of a new manifesto. The Manifesto for Sustainable Shooting Sports, launched by BASC today (6th April), urges all Members of the Senedd to acknowledge the role shooting plays in Wales’ environment and rural economy and the physical and mental wellbeing benefits. Steve Griffiths, BASC Wales director, said: “Shooting is an integral part of Wales’ cultural, economic and environmental fabric.  Shooting activities in Wales contribute £75 million to the UK economy each year, supporting the equivalent of 2,400 full-time jobs. These contributions are critical – without them, many fragile rural communities would struggle to survive. “In addition, the management practices associated with shooting play a pivotal role in protecting ecosystems and helping wildlife to thrive. Across Wales, shooting contributes to an annual spend of £7.4 million each year on conservation, which is the equivalent of 490 full-time jobs or 120,000 conservation work days. “Our ask is simply to work with stakeholders on developing policies to manage the countryside.” Mr Griffiths added: “In this manifesto ahead of the 2021 Senedd Elections, we highlight our policy recommendations for shooting sports, which we believe should be adopted and endorsed by Wales’ political parties. “We make these recommendations in good faith and with an open invitation to discuss them with elected representatives, parliamentary candidates, policy-makers and stakeholders. “The Welsh countryside is a complex place with a diversity of interests, and traditional land uses are facing unrelenting calls to justify their own existence. We want this to change. We are confident that our policy proposals show why shooting is compatible with an increasingly diverse countryside.” Four key policy proposals are set out in the manifesto: Sustainable sporting shooting for Wales – health and wellbeing Protecting sustainable sporting shooting and its role in Wales’ rural economySustainable moorland/peatland managementSpecies conservation management The manifesto also outlines how shooting contributes towards the seven wellbeing goals within the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  To read the manifesto, visit https://basc.org.uk/download/294496/ for the English version or visit https://basc.org.uk/download/294500/ for the Welsh version.

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Shooters urge political parties to establish gamekeeping taskforce

The UK’s largest shooting organisation is calling for the creation of a Scottish gamekeeping taskforce in the next parliament, amid concerns the profession is becoming increasingly marginalised. In a manifesto published exactly a month ahead of the Holyrood election, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) said a multilateral taskforce was required to address ‘worrying trends’ outlined in recent research undertaken by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). The research, which was commissioned by the Scottish Government, reported that almost two thirds of surveyed gamekeepers had experienced abuse, while around 80% of respondents said that they felt less optimistic about their future. Targeted anti-shooting campaigns, a lack of government support and the negative portrayal of the shooting sector in the public domain were referenced as possible drivers. The research also showed that over half of surveyed gamekeepers had been impacted by rural crime, which included hare coursing and deer poaching. BASC argues that this is grounds for the inclusion of organisations representing gamekeepers in the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) – a coalition of rural stakeholders responsible for developing Scotland’s rural crime strategy. The various revelations outlined in the research affirmed what many in the profession had been feeling for some time, and prompted the chairman of BASC Scotland’s gamekeeping working group, Mike Holliday – himself a gamekeeper in upland Perthshire – to write a heartfelt plea to the First Minister asking her to intervene. A response came via the Scottish Government’s minister for rural affairs and the natural environment, Ben Macpherson, in which he said he was “appalled to hear of the experiences” reported by Scotland’s gamekeepers. Mr Macpherson added that he “would work to ensure that no credence is given to any vexatious or malicious claims of malpractice”, amid concern that the establishment of a licensing scheme for grouse moor management could be exploited by malevolent accusations from anti-shooting campaigners intent on seeing grouse shooting banned. BASC Scotland’s public affairs manager, Ross Ewing, said: “While the Scottish Government’s recent condemnation of abusive behaviour towards gamekeepers was welcome, it is abundantly clear that much more has to be done to support and protect the profession going forward.  “The government commissioned SRUC research has clearly identified worrying trends with respect to abuse and crime, and it is unsurprising that a negative outlook is currently griping the profession. The strength of feeling at last month’s rural workers’ protest was palpable. “The establishment of a Scottish gamekeeping taskforce will help to give gamekeepers the representation they deserve, and will place them at the heart of formulating strategies to make things better for a diversity of rural workers the length and breadth of the country. “Gamekeepers have a unique set of skills to help tackle biodiversity loss and climate change, and it will be incumbent on the next Scottish Government to act in support of the gamekeeping profession if it intends to harness this considerable potential. We will continue to urge all of Scotland’s political parties to support the establishment of this…

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