Last year the RSPB announced it was undertaking a policy review on gamebird shooting (see here).
This was prompted by ongoing environmental concerns including ‘the ongoing and systematic illegal persecution of birds of prey such as hen harriers on some sporting estates; the ecological impact of high numbers of game birds released into the countryside increasing the density of generalist predators; the mass culling of mountain hares in some parts of our uplands; the use of lead ammunition; the impact of burning peatlands and medicating wild animals for sport shooting’.
The policy review process comprises three elements, including a consultation of RSPB members as well as with others with an interest in gamebird shooting, whether that be for or against (see here).
[Shot pheasants, photo by Getty]
The consultation period closed in April and the RSPB is currently assessing those responses and intends to publish them (or at least those who gave permission for their response to be published) in due course.
Nine organisations from the game shooting industry have already published their joint response, which was interesting in that they chose to write a letter waffling on about the GWCT’s proposed ‘principles of gamebird management’ instead of responding to the questions posed in the RSPB’s consultation questionnaire. The tired old cliches are all in there and the obligatory accusation that the RSPB threatens future ‘partnership working’ (ahem) if it decides to change its stance on gamebird shooting. The game shooting industry’s letter can be read here: RSPB-consultation-Shooting Industry response-16-04-20
Wild Justice also responded to the consultation and its response has been published on its blog today – see here. As with the game shooting industry response, you’ll probably detect some irritation from Wild Justice with some of the RSPB’s proposed principles, and this irritation builds throughout the WJ response, but for completely different reasons to the irritation shown by the game shooting industry!
Irritations aside, the RSPB’s policy review of game shooting is very welcome and it’ll be fascinating to see where it ends up. The results are due to be announced at the RSPB AGM in October.