A petition to ban the shooting of critically endangered birds was discussed at the Senedd Petitions Committee this week.
The petition, which received 122 signatures, asks for a ban on the shooting of endangered birds. Specifically, red- and amber-listed species of conservation concern in Wales such as woodcock, pochard, black grouse and snipe.
The petition did acknowledge that shooting may not be the main cause of their decline.
BASC submitted additional evidence to the committee in relation to the petition. Our response stressed that there is no evidence to support the proposals.
Other factors, such as the loss of habitat, contribute to species decline, and as such there should be no change in policy.
Those participating in shooting activities have an interest in ensuring there are sustainable quarry populations. In addition, the shooting community undertake a range of conservation activities to monitor and enhance bird populations across the country.
BASC believes that regulation is not the appropriate method to secure a species’ good conservation status and, in the long term, will not reverse population decline.
The BASC Wales team met with Joel James MS (South Wales Central) – a member of the Petitions Committee – last week to discuss this and raise our concerns.
Despite this, the committee ultimately agreed the petition should remain open and will now write to the minister asking for monitoring of the number of birds that are shot. It will also request for any planned short-term measures to address the issues raised in the petition to be outlined.
BASC will continue to press the matter with relevant Senedd members and work to gather evidence of the Welsh populations of each quarry species covered by the petition and on the quarry list.
A petition to ban gamebird cages, submitted by the League Against Cruel Sports with 5,287 signatures, was also discussed and ultimately closed.
Correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs in relation to the petition highlighted that the Welsh Government has made a commitment to restrict the use of cages for farmed animals.
However, a review of the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes will remain on hold while Welsh Government works with other UK administrations to examine the evidence around the use of cages for breeding gamebirds.
The minister stated that any changes to the Code of Practice, or to welfare legislation, will not be made without further consultation with stakeholders but could not provide a timeline for this.
The BASC Wales team will keep you updated. If you would like more information or to discuss in more detail please contact us here.