Small shoots to benefit from British Game Alliance membership

The British Game Alliance (BGA) has introduced an Associate Membership category, designed to widen access to the organisation for smaller shoots.

The move comes amidst growing recognition of the value of self-assurance to protect the future of shooting.

Until now, many smaller shoots have felt unable to join the BGA, as they do not sell their game and only shoot for personal consumption, despite recognising the need for a self-regulating shooting sector with independent shoot assurance and supporting the goal of a thriving market for game meat.

The Associate Membership will bet at a lower cost of just £62.50 plus VAT while also removing the bureaucracy associated with the food-industry standards of full BGA membership.

Only shoots releasing fewer than 1,500 birds and not selling any game into the commercial food chain, will be eligible.

Associate Members will self-assess online and will receive an independent audit if a credible complaint is made through the BGA’s procedures.

There is growing shooting-sector alignment behind the idea of a fully-self-regulated shooting sector, especially given recent RSPB calls for shoot licensing, the Scottish Government’s intention to license grouse moors and the Defra review of gamebird releasing.

The BGA understands from politicians and officials that to be credible 80 per cent shoots need to embrace shoot-assurance, so making the scheme more widely accessible is a crucial step in the protection of the sport.

Associate Membership also includes access to other benefits, such as discounts with the BGA’s brand partners and health services and you will be able to advertise their days as a BGA Associate Member Shoot, allowing you to attract the growing number of discerning guns choosing only to join shoots that can boast accredited best-practice.

Liam Stokes, BGA’s chief executive, said: “We want a BGA that works for shoots of all shapes and sizes. Independent assurance has to be available to every shoot if we are to face down the challenges that are coming our way, and work to grow participation in self-regulation across the shooting sector. Hopefully this new tier of membership will open up a way forward for those smaller shoots that want to be at the forefront of the future of shooting.”

Chris Horne, managing director of Guns on Pegs, added: “I am absolutely delighted to see the BGA taking another incredibly important step to helping to sure up the future of game shooting in the UK. It is vital that all shoots, irrespective of size, demonstrate that they meet the standards set, so that we can fend off further attacks on our way of life.”

The move has also been backed by other key shooting organisations.

Steve Bloomfield, BASC’s executive director of operations, said: “Recognising the value of self-assurance and enhancing the marketing of game, every shoot should consider becoming a member of the BGA.”

While Adrian Blackmore, director of shooting at the Countryside Alliance, commented: “Being a member of the BGA is essential if we are to help secure the future of shooting as we know it and, with the Associate Membership, shoots of all sizes can now play their part in ensuring that only the highest standards are met.”

Commenting on the announcement Gemma Payne, The Game Fair’s Head of Marketing said “Self-regulation is essential to protect shooting for future generations. The BGA is leading the way. The new Associate Membership will help to ensure that the highest standards are met across the board, whilst contributing to the promotion of game meat globally.”

Adam Calvert, Director of Calvert Sporting and BGA Ambassador added “Most people realise the value of shoot assurance to protect the future of shooting, with the recent calls by the RSBP for shoot licensing this has never been more important. The BGA Associate Member scheme now allows access to assurance at a lower cost and with less paperwork, I would encourage all shoots large and small to become BGA members as soon as possible before licensing is forced upon us.”

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