I have to be honest, it makes me quite sad to be writing in the midst of yet another lockdown. This is the scenario we were dreading, a lockdown so severe it has ended the shooting season a whole month early. There is a lot of concern on the ground, we are in uncharted territory, and at the BGA we are doing what we can to support our members.
The worry comes from two sources: Brexit and COVID. 2020 was spent trying to steer a path through both situations as they developed, but January 2021 has seen them collide. We produced guidance ahead of Brexit telling shoots to make sure feathered game destined for Europe was redirected to a processor, but we now have reports from up and down the country of processors finding it impossible to get that game onto the continent. There seem to be gremlins in the paperwork, and we have worked as quickly as possible with our friends at St David’s Vets to put this on the Defra radar. Thankfully Defra have responded with speed, and we secured an urgent meeting and a commitment to resolve the situation. We still need your help though, and any details concerning how and why produce is failing to reach its destination would be invaluable in finding a rapid solution.
Problems shipping game out the country have only exacerbated concerns about getting game harvested in the first place. Driven game shooting as we know and love it is prohibited this month, but the market still needs to be serviced. We have moved to reassure our shoots that lockdown has not shut down our registered-processors, many of whom are still looking to take game professionally harvested in a COVID-safe manner.
I will end on a bright note. I have my little girl at home with me, and I am attempting to play my part in homeschooling her. I know what it is to have a youngster at home bubbling over with energy, and I am delighted we have been able to partner with some of the biggest names in shooting and game cookery to pull together a lockdown cooking competition to give children and young people stuck at home something to get their teeth into. The Game Chef Hunt is seeking the most creative young game cooks, and all you need to do is post a picture of your dish on social media, tagging us in and telling us the key ingredients. And in case the over-21s are feeling left out, we have a free pheasant katsu cookalong on the 28th January and we would love to see you there.
Keep safe and well.