BASC welcomes SNH finding on absence of shoot licensing in Europe

BASC welcomes the finding of a report commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) which has confirmed the concept of shoot licensing does not exist anywhere in Europe.

The SNH study compared regulations on hunting gamebirds in 14 different European countries and found that systems exist to licence individuals but not “shoots”. The 14 countries reviewed were Germany, Norway, Sweden, Spain, France, Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, Finland, Romania, Estonia, Bulgaria, and Denmark, with five chosen as case studies.

Dr Colin Shedden, BASC’s director Scotland, said: “SNH recognise that most of the 14 countries fall under the strict provisions of the 1979 Birds Directive, as does the UK, and that regulation is through the licensing of individual hunters.

“In Scotland, and the rest of the UK, licensing works effectively through the granting of a shotgun certificate to anyone wishing to shoot gamebirds. This was the key and crucial argument I made when I gave evidence to the Public Petitions Committee in December last year. Individual shooters are licensed – not the shoot.

“Those who wish to shoot game in Scotland are just as closely regulated as those in the rest of Europe. The report recognises that the illegal killing of raptors ’is a common concern among many European countries’. What is not acknowledged is that, in Scotland, the persecution of raptors has declined, and continues to decline, mainly due to concerted efforts by the Scottish government, Police Scotland and land management and shooting interests.”

Mike Hardy, a member of BASC council and a shoot manager in Scotland, said: “The report is interesting in that it compares 14 European countries but fails to provide any empirical information about shooting in Scotland or the UK.

“For example, France has the largest number of hunters in Europe and they contribute 3.6 billion euros to the French economy per annum.

“In the UK, a smaller number contribute £2 billion. It is surprising, and disappointing, that this report does not acknowledge our contribution to conservation and the rural economy, nor the plethora of legislation that already covers game shooting.”

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