Shooting under attack in Scotland, says BASC

BASC has criticised inflammatory and far-fetched claims made by the RSPB and the Scottish Raptor Studies Group in evidence given today in support of a petition calling for a state-regulated licensing system for gamebird hunting in Scotland.

During the evidence session at the Public Petitions Committee, it was claimed that Scottish shooting businesses are “underpinned by illegality”, that it is difficult for wildlife tourism operators to find wildlife to show visitors and tourists are being put off visiting areas of Scotland because of the ‘endemic’ persecution of protected species,.

It was also suggested a licensing scheme should be implemented to restrict the number of pheasants released on shoots. BASC believes this proposal has nothing to do with raptor persecution but gives an insight into the anti-shooting agenda of those making the claims.

Nicolle Hamilton, press and policy advisor for BASC Scotland, said: “Many of those who shoot in Scotland will be dismayed to see yet another attempt to disrupt and bureaucratise their sport.

“Shooting businesses provide essential employment that underpins remote rural communities and supports tourism businesses throughout the winter months.

“The unjust and alarming claims made in today’s evidence session illustrate the threat posed by a small number of campaigning organisations. BASC will be briefing MSPs on the reality of the socio-economic and environmental benefits of gamebird shooting in Scotland.”

Mike Hardy, a BASC council member, said: “As a gamekeeper, pheasant shooting is my livelihood and any restrictions on the modest numbers of birds released would have significant impact on the viability of the shoot and on seasonal employment.”

The Public Petitions Committee will decide whether to refer the issue to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee at their next meeting.