RSPB’s attack on shooting is not based on evidence, says BASC

A partridge

BASC has described the RSPB’s call for additional regulation on the release of gamebirds as “putting the cart before the horse”.

Announced during its Annual General Meeting which took place on Saturday 15 October, the RSPB called for Defra to take action on the release of gamebirds.

The RSPB provided no evidence that the release of gamebirds in the UK is damaging and failed to acknowledge the conservation work undertaken by shoots across the UK.

A BASC spokesperson said: “Policy should be led by evidence, not impulsive ideas based on theory.

“In making this announcement the RSPB has failed to recognise the significant conservation benefits provided by shooting. Shooting is involved in the management of two-thirds of the UK’s rural land area, contributing £250 million to conservation each year and 3.9 million workdays equivalent to 16,000 full time conservation jobs. This is far greater than the resources the RSPB puts into its reserves.

“In the face of a nature and climate crisis, game management and shooting activities deliver for the environment and the RSPB should be seeking to work with the shooting sector instead of promoting division.”

Specifically on gamebird release, a BASC spokesperson said: “In 2022 the release of gamebirds in the UK was down by 30-40%. 

“Government agencies already have the power to stop damaging gamebird releases, and more recently in England a licence has been applied to releasing gamebirds on and near protected sites. With this regulation already in place, the RSPB’s call appears more to do with political positioning than facts and evidence.”