Ban on pheasant shooting on public land in Wales announced

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Pheasant shooting is to be banned on public land in Wales from next year.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said it would not be renewing leases for shooting the gamebirds from March 2019.

The Welsh Government body announced on Thursday it would also not support the breeding of pheasants on government-owned estate.

It said applications for firearms use for other sports like clay pigeon shooting would also be considered on a “case-by-case basis”.

The Countryside Alliance said the decision would lead to job losses and came after years of pressure from Animal Aid and the League Against Cruel Sports, which “consistently called for science and evidence to be sidelined in favour of opinion polling”.

It also pointed to an NRW review costing £40,000 which recommended pheasant shooting be allowed to continue.

Countryside Alliance Wales director Rachel Evans said: “NRW have been forced to take a position that the board knows is not supported by the evidence.

“The board’s decision goes entirely against the recommendations of NRW’s own review into the subject which proved that pheasant shooting delivers on sustainable management of natural resources and on the well-being goals for Wales as set out in the Future Generations Wales Act.

“The actions by NRW board today will inevitably mean the loss of jobs in some of the most rural part of Wales who are dependent on shooting.”

NRW acting chair Madeleine Havard said: “We want to make the most of the land we manage for the people, economy and environment in Wales.

“As a land manager, this means considering how best to make sure that we tackle the ongoing decline in our wildlife, while conserving rare animals and habitats.

“In making our final decisions, the board also accepted the Welsh Government’s position as landowner.

“We have taken the time to review all the information provided to us by a wide a range of stakeholders. We are confident that we have a robust position statement that reflects the requirements of the Environment (Wales) Act.”

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