The value of shooting and fishing to the environment was highlighted at a rural reception hosted by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Angling Trust at the Liberal Democrats’ 2018 Conference in Brighton.

Baroness Cathy Bakewell, the Liberal’s Lords spokesperson on environment, food and rural affairs, applauded the work of both organisations in her speech to the reception.

Baroness Bakewell said: “I fully appreciate the contribution made by shooting and fishing to rural and coastal life.

“I have spent many enjoyable hours sitting on river banks with my husband while he fishes and I am well versed in its benefits to the economy and the environment.

“And shooting is a legitimate country sport that benefits the environment and rural economies and puts good, wholesome food on the table. Game meat is a marvellous, healthy product that deserves the widest possible recognition with the consumer.

“Those who engage in fieldsports with high standards and have a high regard for animal welfare are an essential part of rural life.”

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “BASC, as an all-party organisation, has always enjoyed a close working relationship with the Lib Dems.

“The rural reception continues to be a fantastic opportunity for BASC and the Angling Trust to highlight the role of our organisations, which have a stake in the health and prosperity of our countryside.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Liberal Democrats to secure good outcomes for the sports we represent.”

Peter Glenser, BASC chairman, said: “The rural receptions at the party conferences are integral to the success of BASC’s political work. It is important the association takes every opportunity to promote shooting to those who make the decisions that affect us.

“BASC ensures that politicians and other policy makers never lose sight of shooting’s massive contribution to the management of the countryside. People who shoot spend 3.9 million work days on conservation – the equivalent of 16,000 full-time jobs and shoot providers spend nearly £250 million a year on conservation.”

David Mitchell, the Angling Trust’s head of marine, said: “Around two million people go fishing in the UK each year and we are a nation of anglers and shooters.

“Our role in protecting the environment and supporting rural and coastal economies is often overlooked by the general public. But millions of anglers and shooters invest hundreds of millions of pounds protecting an environment that the general public also enjoy at the same time as supporting tens of thousands of jobs and small businesses often in communities often suffering from high levels of deprivation.

“Those who choose to fish and shoot should have a clear say on how our environment is managed in the future. It is important that organisations such as the Angling Trust and BASC take use events such as these rural receptions to deliver that message to politicians.”

BASC and the Angling Trust will also be holding events at the Labour conference in Liverpool and the Conservative conference in Birmingham.

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