MP Hannah Blythyn wrote to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to inform the group that due to “policy issues and concerns… the Welsh government does not support commercial pheasant shooting or the breeding of gamebird.” This discards the conclusions of NRW itself, which, after an extensive review, said it supported having well-regulated shoots on its land.
The minister’s letter has raised the concerns of thousands of shooters, and the people whose livelihoods depend on it.
Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said: “This is an extraordinary statement which will be extremely disturbing to the thousands of people in rural Wales whose livelihoods depend on shooting.
“The last resort of the anti-hunting movement as it loses the argument on evidence and principle has always been to start talking about ‘morality’ and ‘ethics’. What this really means is that it wants to impose its opinions on everyone else, despite a complete lack of evidence to justify them.
Tom Adams, managing director of the British Game Alliance, said: “The political threat to shooting is real, and we know the strongest defences are a thriving game meat market and rigorously-enforced shoot standards. The BGA delivers on both these fronts, and Hannah Blythyn’s letter shows precisely why it is vital that every shoot joins up.
“Every shoot that is not a member is a chink in shooting’s armour that can be exploited by those who want to attack us for political gain. Imagine a minister in Westminster signing a letter saying the government do not support shooting or game bird rearing, and imagine how much more catastrophic that will be if we have not embraced credible shoot assurance.”