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The threat to shooting in Wales continues

Following a 12-week consultation, Natural Resources Wales has recommended that gamebird release should be licensed from 2025.

two male Common pheasant (Phasianus colchius) Ring-necked pheasant in natural habitat, green background, grassland in autumn rooster

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has recommended to the Welsh government that it should license gamebird release from 2025. This recommendation comes after a delay in the decision was announced in September.

The 12-week public consultation was launched last summer and received 42,597 responses, a reaction that was boosted by BASC’s ‘Act Now’ campaign. NRW has now disclosed that it did not review all the 42,597 replies and asked its staff to randomly sample them due to the “very large number of responses”.

It is believed the majority of responses to the consultation rejected the plans to license gamebird release and that NRW has made its proposal to the Welsh government in direct opposition to the consultation findings.

Currently there has been no breakdown of the proportion of yes/no answers received by the consultation made public. BASC and other campaigning organisations have been petitioning NRW to share the results. It has been said by NRW that the consultation “was not a vote”. This is despite its insistence during the consultation that it wanted views on its proposals.

NRW is being accused of rushing to a predetermined decision to meet the expectations of anti-shooting climate changeminister Julie James, as well as failing its due diligence.

Geraint Jones, headkeeper on the 6,000-acre Coed Coch Shoot in North Wales, told ST: “For the Welsh minister responsible for rural policy [Julie James] to say on the floor of the Senedd that she did not think ‘killing for sport or for leisure is anything that any civilised society should support’, it looks like the outcome had already been decided before the consultation began.”

The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is currently taking legal advice to protect its members and interests and said: “The Welsh government seems to be hell bent on the destruction of Welsh traditions, wildlife and rural workers.”

Dr Conor O’Gorman, head of policy and campaigns at BASC, said NRW’s behaviour demonstrates “a complete lack of fairness and transparency” and that over his career “nothing compares to the level of contempt shown to the shooting community this week in Wales”.