We have recently updated our Standards for lowland shoots participating in the BGA Assurance Scheme. If you run a member shoot you will have been sent the new Standards directly, and if not the link to all our Assurance documents is below.
I hope you will agree that these Standards reflect both best practice in shoot management, and are also no more than you would expect from any estate you would choose to shoot with. We consider our Standards annually to make sure they reflect best practice, whilst being accessible to all well-run shooting operations of all sizes. You will see that some of the more stretching criteria remain ‘recommended’, and each year we will consider whether they should become mandatory. As a sector we can always do better, and we are delighted to hear from our member shoots as to when these steps should be taken. It is important we all go on this journey together.
Standards have never been so important. Our shoot management practices are under scrutiny from the public, the Government and the consumer. This is not unique to the game sector. Every food-producing sector is under pressure to demonstrate high environmental and welfare standards, and COVID will increase the emphasis on traceability and food safety. The only answer is independently audited Standards, and as a supporter of the BGA Assurance Scheme you are already ahead of the curve.
Our Standards are driven by the needs of our four target audiences- the public, our stockists and retailers, the Government and the shooting community itself. All have specific needs and demands that can only be met through independent assurance, and those are the needs we are seeking to fulfill as we adapt our Standards. So do please give them a read, and let us know if you have any feedback.
Happily, lockdown is beginning to ease and some degree of confidence is beginning to return to game shooting. We are speaking to all our registered stockists and processors to understand how we can best be of help to them as life begins its slow return to normal. One clear message, which I would like to share with you, is the need for communication throughout the supply chain. Not all of our member shoots sell their game, but if you do, please make sure you are speaking to whichever BGA processor takes your birds. If we are to navigate this crisis we need to work together, and that means calling your game dealer and letting them know your plans for the season, how many days you plan to shoot and when. This information will be critical in making a success of what promises to be quite an unusual season!
Finally, a huge welcome to our first Game Farm members. You are pioneers and early adopters and we are delighted to have you. As the scheme grows, we will be urging all our member shoots to buy from BGA-assured game farms. Another step has been taken on the road to full traceability for our sector, from egg to plate.