The Welsh Environment Minister has written to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) stating that the Labour Government in Wales “does not support commercial pheasant shooting or the breeding of gamebirds”, because of “ethical issues”.

If the Welsh Government pushes through a law on this, it will mean the end of famous shoots such as Brigands and Lechweddygarth.

Shooting organisations are reacting angrily. Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner says: “This is an extraordinary statement which will be extremely disturbing to the thousands of people in rural Wales whose livelihoods depend on shooting.

“The last resort of the anti-hunting movement as it loses the argument on evidence and principle has always been to start talking about ‘morality’ and ‘ethics’. What this really means is that it wants to impose its opinions on everyone else, despite a complete lack of evidence to justify them. This is exactly the route now being taken by the Welsh Assembly Government on shooting.”

A recent review of shooting on public land in Wales recommended that NRW:

  • continues to use firearms to manage the damage caused by wild animals on the land it manages where this is essential for the sustainable management of natural resources
  • considers all applications for permission to enter on to its land to control wild animals affecting our neighbours land
  • considers leasing land for pheasant rearing and shooting and wildfowling where it doesn’t negatively impact on our sustainable management of the areas

Bonner comments: “This was obviously not the answer the Minister wanted to hear so she has chosen, in effect, to instruct NRW to disregard the evidence in preference for the Labour Government’s ‘ethical’ objections.”

Welsh Government wants to close down pheasant shooting