In recent weeks there has been concerted criticism of BASC in
some, but by no means all, of the shooting press, coupled with a
call for the establishment of a new lobbying organization for
The criticism seems to be focused on two main issues.
Firstly BASCís stance on lead ammunition as evidenced by the Chief
Executive John Swift being the Chairman of the Lead Ammunition
Group initiated by DEFRA and the Food Standards Agency; and
secondly BASCís policy for the phasing out of small raised cage
laying units for gamebirds.
Dealing with lead shot first. BASC is unambiguously committed
to defending lead shot unless UK-based, peer-reviewed published
research demonstrates that it causes significant damage to human
health and the environment. This is what is meant by BASCís stated
policy ďBASC will continue to oppose any unwarranted restrictions
on lead shot use. Restrictions must be science-based and
proportionate. Debates about possible restrictions must fully
involve shooting interests.Ē
BASCís position on this is exactly in line with all other
shooting organizations, most of which are also involved in the LAG
It is absolutely vital that the interests of shooters are heard
by DEFRA and FSA, and not to have accepted the invitation to Chair
such a group would have been foolish. It is also essential that
shooting organisations are heard and that the LAG is a balanced
forum and not merely a conduit for the RSPB and WWT to make their
views known to Government.
Secondly, small cage laying units for gamebirds: BASC is
committed to safeguarding the future of British game farming. In
order to do so it is important that high standards of welfare are
at the core of the game rearing business. Unless they are it would
not be possible to promote game as a healthy and free range
alternative to intensely reared livestock. For many years BASC has
had a policy that small raised laying units for gamebirds, whether
barren or enriched, do not offer the birds an environment that
meets their basic welfare needs.
As with all farming or rearing there is a fine line to tread
between commercial viability and unacceptable welfare standards.
BASC Council has remained unconvinced that the current design and
use of small raised laying cages for gamebirds can satisfy the
five freedoms of animal welfare. BASC believes that the welfare
costs are unacceptable and damaging to shooting. Consequently
Council remains unanimous that the long term sustainability of
game shooting is served by less intensive methods of game
production Ė and that this nettle should be grasped in the context
of the new game bird welfare codes.
BASC and its elected Council, drawn from all aspects of our
sport, are committed to the promotion of all types of shooting. We
are now, as ever, determined in its defence.
On behalf of the Council of BASC