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BASC Policy on Lead Shot
Statement by Chairman


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Letter from Council

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 shooting.

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 process.

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.


Robert Irvine


On behalf of the Council of BASC