British Game Al­liance launched

Sporting Shooter - - Shooting News -

On 21 May at the West­min­ster Kingsway Col­lege in Lon­don, the mem­bers of the British Game Al­liance (BGA) spoke to some of the lead­ing mem­bers of the shoot­ing com­mu­nity about the cur­rent state of the game meat in­dus­try, while in­tro­duc­ing what is hoped to be a ground­break­ing na­tion­wide ini­tia­tive.

What is the BGA?

The British Game Al­liance is the of­fi­cial mar­ket­ing board for the UK game in­dus­try. As a not-for­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, it will be pro­mot­ing the value of all feath­ered game to the pub­lic while ex­plor­ing new mar­kets at home and over­seas. Through its ‘British Game’ as­sur­ance scheme, the BGA aims to en­sure the prove­nance of game meets rig­or­ous and eth­i­cal stan­dards, and by nur­tur­ing deeper re­la­tion­ships with the food in­dus­try, the BGA will give good food seek­ers ac­cess to tasty and healthy British game.

The British Game Al­liance is not aim­ing to com­pete with other game ini­tia­tives; it sim­ply wishes to com­pli­ment, unite and fill the gap of a much-needed mar­ket­ing board for game. The BGA will work on a na­tional scale tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Scot­tish Veni­son, Welsh Lamb and British Beef, who have cre­ated well-loved brands that have found de­mand around the world.

The British Game Al­liance seeks to unite each as­pect of the game shoot­ing com­mu­nity for: Birds fully adapted to the wild The ben­e­fit of the wildlife and our wood­lands, land­scapes and love of great food Healthy game, at a healthy price Shoots, agents and game deal­ers The shoot­ing com­mu­nity and the gen­eral pub­lic

For shoots and agents, the BGA prom­ises to: Work tire­lessly to de­velop new mar­kets for your game out­put In­crease the value of your game by im­prov­ing per­cep­tions and in­creas­ing de­mand As­sure your clients of your high stan­dards through the use of the ‘British Game’ stamp Pro­vide sup­port and advice on all game-re­lated is­sues Work for all shoots of all sizes.

The BGA’s tiered mem­ber­ship fee has been de­signed to make it fair and ac­ces­si­ble to even the small­est shoots. Par­tic­i­pat­ing shoots will of­fer their pay­ing Guns a vol­un­tary levy of 50p per bird on their in­voice or bal­ance pay­ment. This is an op­por­tu­nity for the Guns to con­trib­ute to the fight­ing fund.

Self-reg­u­la­tion

The evening cul­mi­nated with speeches from Si­mon Hart, MP and chair­man of the Coun­try­side Al­liance, who en­cour­aged the com­mu­nity to act with self-reg­u­la­tion while it still can: “The re­al­ity is that whether we ap­prove or agree with it or not, shoot­ing has never been un­der greater scru­tiny.

“The mes­sage we got from No. 10 and DE­FRA was that we must em­brace self-reg­u­la­tion as en­thu­si­as­ti­cally as we can, be­cause if not, some­one else will reg­u­late you.”

Ivan Shenkman, chair­man of the British Game Al­liance, con­tin­ued by speak­ing openly about the re­la­tion­ships be­tween the shoot­ing com­mu­nity, the govern­ment, game deal­ers, shoot agents and the gen­eral pub­lic.

Fi­nally, Lord James Percy, British Game Al­liance pa­tron, dis­cussed the cur­rent land­scape of the shoot­ing in­dus­try and its ef­fect on the game meat in­dus­try: “If there wasn’t a pretty ma­jor is­sue, you would not be here to­day, nor would there be a need for form­ing the BGA. One thing I am ab­so­lutely clear on in my mind – if a bird is not go­ing to be eaten, it can­not be shot. End of. That is the ba­sic prin­ci­ple of our sport.”

Par­lia­men­tary sup­port

Sir John Ran­dall, en­vi­ron­ment spe­cial ad­vi­sor to Teresa May, lis­tened care­fully to the BGA’s pro­pos­als and made it very clear he is keen to see progress in the area of self-reg­u­la­tion and stan­dards. He pointed out the ob­vi­ous risks to shoot­ing should stan­dards in the field, as well as the pro­cess­ing of shot game, not stand up to strin­gent scru­tiny. He was also en­cour­aged to hear that all the ma­jor or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved in game shoot­ing were work­ing to­gether. Ge­orge Eus­tice, min­is­ter of state at DE­FRA said: “I am de­lighted to sup­port the launch of the BGA as it helps en­sure the high­est stan­dards of wel­fare in the rear­ing and sale of game meat as healthy, free-range and af­ford­able. It is also en­cour­ag­ing to see ef­forts be­ing made to iden­tify new mar­kets for game at home and abroad.”

In­dus­try sup­port

D’Arcy Wyvill, cus­to­dian at Con­sta­ble Bur­ton Hall shared his sup­port: “The Con­sta­ble Bur­ton shoot has signed up as a shoot mem­ber al­ready, and I will be do­ing my bit in the north of Eng­land to re­fer the BGA on to other shoots.”

Tris­tan Kirk and Si­mon Wilkinson of Lin­colnshire Game spoke highly of the new ini­tia­tive on the evening. They said: “As one of the largest pro­duc­ers of game in the UK, we will be sup­port­ing the BGA by sign­ing up and en­cour­ag­ing all of our es­tates to sign up. We are keen to get the BGA as­sur­ance sym­bol onto our prod­ucts.”

Jose Souto, se­nior chef lec­turer in culi­nary arts at the West­min­ster Kingsway Col­lege added: “In this day and age when con­sumers, chefs and the re­tail sec­tor scru­ti­nize, quite rightly, all as­pects of our food, we need to have an as­sur­ance of the good hus­bandry, qual­ity and a trace­abil­ity for all our game, as we have with all other meats.”

The BGA board and team

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