Sustainable Food and Farming minister Jeff Rooker announced on 29 July that DEFRA intends to abolish game licences. Game licences have been an integral part of gameshooting since 1831. Both the 1831 Game Act and the 1860 Game Licences Act make it an offence to kill or take game without a licence. Gamedealers are also bound under existing laws.

Lord Rooker announced DEFRA?s intentions, saying: ?We are going to get rid of game licences. They are outdated and our intention is to abolish them.?

Christopher Graffius, from BASC, told ST: ?BASC has lobbied for many years for the abolition of the game licences and the updating of game laws. It welcomes the consultation and encourages members to take part. A fit-for-purpose legal basis for gameshooting will be of enormous benefit to the rural environment and economy. The laws were invented to stop poachers in times when people were being hanged and deported for poaching. The earliest acts, pre-1834, all pre-date parliamentary reform. The Wildlife and Countryside Acts will serve to fill in any gaps left by the game licensing laws.?

In addition to the game licensing laws other topics are under review, including whether the laws governing the seasons for taking and killing game and conservation of gamebirds should be transferred to the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act and whether to retain or remove the restriction on shooting game on Sundays and Christmas Day. The closing date for the consultation is 20 October.