The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is backing efforts by government to challenge rules which make it ‘practically impossible’ to bring game meat into Northern Ireland.

Game meat, leaving Great Britain for personal consumption has fallen foul of Brexit, meaning Northern Ireland visitors to Great Britain must comply with regulation to take home their shot quarry. BASC believes the rules will significantly damage shooting tourism between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

BASC’s Northern Ireland director Tommy Mayne said: “These new requirements make it practically impossible for Northern Irish shooters to take home their wild game meat for personal consumption and mean that most if not all hunters will travel home empty handed. 

“Thousands of shooters travel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain every year and these regulations are wholly disruptive to shooting tourism, overly burdensome and needlessly bureaucratic.”

BASC has written to the Norther Ireland’s Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots MLA, and he has, in turn, contacted the European Commission.

In a written reply to BASC, Minister Poots said: “I have written to the European Commission highlighting the requirements associated with Export Health Certificates (EHC) and requested that consideration be given to mitigations for these rules where possible.”

As a result of the EU Withdrawal Agreement and the NI Protocol, the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is required to carry out checks on meat entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, in line with EU law.

Anyone wishing to bring dead wild game into Northern Ireland must first have it inspected in Great Britain by an Official Veterinarian who, when satisfied, will issue an EHC. To satisfy the requirement of the EHC, the meat must have been processed in an establishment approved for export to the EU and which is listed on the European Commission website. The EHC must accompany the meat to the Border Control Post (BCP) in Northern Ireland. The BCP must be notified of the intended arrival a minimum of 24 hours in advance and a failure to declare the consignment would be an offence.

BASC is also working closely with the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) to raise the issue with the EU Commission.

Mr Mayne added: “There are a number of significant issues for the shooting community falling out of Brexit, game meat for personal consumption is just one of them. BASC is fighting these issues at every turn.”

ENDS