Opinion Former Article

Labour highlights value of shooting to rural economy at BASC event

LABOUR’S shadow environment secretary spoke of the importance of sustainable and responsible shooting and angling to the success of the UK’s rural economy at a reception hosted by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Angling Trust at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

Sue Hayman, MP for Workington in Cumbria, said: “Shooting and angling are recreational activities enjoyed by millions of people across Britain.

“We need to recognise that they are integral parts of our rural economy and they have numerous benefits for our natural environment.

“I was really pleased that BASC fed into the consultation on our animal welfare plan. We both want to see standards improve and want to promote sustainable and responsible industries. I look forward to working with BASC to ensure that we prioritise animal welfare at all times.

“Both BASC and the Angling Trust carry out vital conservation work. Sustainability has to be at the heart of everything we do.

“We want people to be able to continue to enjoy shooting and angling while promoting conservation, biodiversity and protecting our environment.

“I’ll keep working with BASC and the Angling Trust to ensure that this sustainability and conservation of British wildlife is high on the policy agenda at Westminster.”

Christopher Graffius, BASC’s executive director of communications and public affairs, said: “BASC is fully committed to high standards and ensuring that shooting is sustainable and continues to support the environment and economy.

“We welcome Sue Hayman’s public support for shooting. We gave Labour a constructive response to their animal welfare plan last year and we are pleased that some of the original proposals which would have affected shooting have been dropped or amended.

“Within its new Environment Policy, ‘Green Transformation’, Labour has raised a number of proposals linked to shooting. We will continue to work with them to ensure they are fully briefed on the science and research that supports heather burning and we will be part of any review on the future of grouse shooting.”

Martyn Jones, a member of BASC council and former Labour MP, also gave a speech at the reception.

He said: “Labour needs to work hard to win rural seats but it will not do that with an extreme rural agenda. BASC has worked with Labour in government and opposition for many years and is well-placed to ensure that shooting is represented in all future discussions that may affect it.”

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