The outbreak of COVID-19 has disrupted the nation and it is in all our interests that we return to normal activities as soon as it is safe to do so. Shooting plays a crucial role in the environmental, economic and social well-being of the countryside and this latest document from the Alliance explains how a phased return of shooting activities can secure the many benefits it brings.
Featuring key statistics and facts, as well as quotes from leading voices within the shooting community, the 8 page dossier, which is now available online, has been submitted to the Government.
The aim of the proposals set out within the paper demonstrate that when it is safe to do so, and lockdown restrictions are eased, shooting should be amongst the first activities to resume.
In brief, it argues that when the Government do adjust lockdown conditions then:
1) Essential pest control such as rabbit, deer, and pigeon must be undertaken alone, or within household groups only.
2) The same restrictions that govern essential travel should be adhered to.
3) Suitable plans for carcass management must be made prior to any outing, to avoid the need for contact with game processors.
4) When restrictions are relaxed to allow game shooting, shoots must be able to demonstrate they can comply with social distancing measures, and operate within Government guidelines.
5) Equipment should not be shared, and where applicable, payment should be organised in advance and made online where possible.
The Alliance’s Director of Shooting, Adrian Blackmore said: “The Countryside Alliance fully supports the Government and its effort to slow the spread and minimise the effect of COVID-19. However, as the Government now comes to consider how the country will exit lockdown, we are proposing that when it is safe to do so, and restrictions are eased, shooting could be one of the first activities to be resumed in a phased manner. Shooting is an activity that can be conducted in isolation, and it has a key role in many conservation and pest control management plans. It will be detrimental to our biodiversity and wildlife across the country if restrictions remain in place longer than necessary. It is also an activity that has well documented physical and mental health benefits, and critically, it is the lynch pin of many rural economies”