Four leading shooting organisations have joined forces to help fight Wild Justice’s latest judicial review against Defra on the legality of releasing gamebirds over designated sites.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Countryside Alliance, Game Farmers’ Association and the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation have jointly applied to become interested parties in the proceedings.
Wild Justice claim that releasing birds, even at considerable distance, could damage a European Protected Site (EPS) and that no game bird releasing should be allowed unless an assessment has shown there will be no impact on the area.
A spokesperson for the organisations said: “This case has direct consequences for thousands of our members and supporters who shoot; many of whom are also responsible for the care and management of these sites.
“It is essential that the shooting community involves itself in the proceedings at the earliest possible stage so that we can present a robust, evidence-based case to the court.
“No matter the cost, our voice needs to be heard during the proceedings. And time is of the essence. Many people involved in shooting have already begun preparations for next season which carry significant financial burden.
“The countryside does not operate to the same calendar as the judicial system and it is essential that point is delivered loud and clear to the court. Livelihoods and the health of the countryside are at risk if those making the decisions get this wrong.
“In their attempt to attack shooting, Wild Justice are putting at risk the responsible management, use and enjoyment of the countryside by farmers, land managers and the public at large, as well as endangering the very wildlife and environment which they claim to be interested in protecting.”