The UK game-shooting industry is ratcheting-up its attempts to appear reasonable and law-abiding as the prospect of enforced regulation looms large.
Tomorrow (Saturday) the RSPB announces the results of its year-long review of its policy on gamebird shooting. There has been very little hint of what its new policy might be, but many of us are hoping its a lot stronger than its former policy and if it is, that will result in even more pressure being placed on Governments to introduce statutory enforcement to regulate the currently out-of-control gamebird shooting industry.
In a rather pathetic attempt to head this off at the pass, today saw the shooting industry in England and Scotland put forward a plea to the respective Governments to support what it calls ‘a new blueprint for the future of shooting’ in the form of a document called ‘The Principles of Sustainable Gamebird Management’, drafted by the GWCT.
The thing is, it’s not a ‘new blueprint’ at all. It’s the same old set of unenforced and unregulated ‘principles’ that the industry has failed to implement year after year. Had these principles been adhered to and self-regulated, the industry wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in now.
In Scotland a coalition of game shooting organisations operating under the banner of RELM (Rural Environment and Land Management) is using these principles as yet another way of trying to persuade the Scottish Government not to introduce a licensing scheme in response to the Werritty Review.
Here’s a desperate press release from Scottish Land & Estates, on behalf of fellow RELM members BASC, Scottish Gamekeepers Association, Countryside Alliance and SACS, explaining why new legislation apparently isn’t required:
As usual, many of the claims made in this statement are brazenly misleading. The Heads up for Hen Harriers project is a greenwashing sham that is definitely not delivering the tangible conservation results it was supposed to (see here), the Muirburn Code is repeatedly ignored, even during a global pandemic (e.g. see here), golden eagles are still being persecuted in areas of high-intensity grouse moor management (see here), as are hen harriers, resulting in significant population decline (see here), peregrines have been systematically removed from many former territories on grouse moors (see here) and merlin populations are suffering due to the intensification of grouse moor management in some areas (see here).
Tomorrow we’ll learn what the RSPB intends to do and sometime soon we might learn what the Scottish Government intends to do….and then the public can decide what it intends to do.
Change is in the air.