The extraordinary week or so in which we have helped game shooting navigate the Government’s new ‘rule of six’ is an example of the unique value the BGA brings to our sector. This feels like a good moment to look at some of the work we did during this time, and to share with you our annual update that summarises what else we have been up to. Hopefully you can help us share these achievements, as we look to grow the BGA so we can be even more effective in helping the game sector through these challenging times.
The Government’s announcement of the rule of six sowed concern across the game shooting sector, and we were inundated with questions from our member shoots. The restrictions would be implemented the following Monday, days were planned and no one knew whether they would be able to go ahead.
I have written before that the BGA has a unique role in speaking to Government. We are not a lobbying organisation, we are a food marketing and development board and an assurance scheme. It is not for us to lobby Ministers or MPs or work in the media. What we have is a unique relationship with Defra, that allows us to raise our concerns for our sector with Government and work closely with them to find solutions.
As the week and especially the weekend wore on and our partner organisations worked with MPs and Ministers, we liaised with Defra to ensure they understood what was needed if game shooting were to continue and the game meat market be allowed to flourish. We continued to receive queries from members, which we were delighted to answer. This is exactly how the BGA should operate, keeping our members informed and raising their concerns with partners like Defra, especially in times of crisis.
In the end we secured the result we all know was so vital for the countryside and for the game meat industry: an ability to continue to shoot within the Covid-safe guidelines. We have since been pushing out the latest guidance to our member shoots across England, Scotland and Wales, something we will need to continue as regional lockdowns are announced.
It was made clear to us during this difficult time that crisis management for game shooting would be easier if more shoots were registered with a regulating body such as the BGA’s Assurance Scheme. I believe this will be ever more relevant as we work with Defra on issues such as Covid and EU Exit. As a BGA member you are already ahead of the curve, and I very much hope you will help us share what we are doing for the game sector and encourage other shoots to join you as a member. To that end, we have published an annual update, summarising where we are and what we have achieved for the game sector to date and noting those excellent organisations, processors and other partners who have helped get us this far. I am very much looking forward to seeing what we can achieve next if we all pull together.
As always if you have any queries or questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
All the best,