This British Game Week the growth of the game meat market was discussed at the highest levels of Government. Defra Minister, Dr Therese Coffey MP, invited Jim Shannon MP, Tom Adams from the British Game Alliance (BGA) and Liam Stokes from the Countryside Alliance to discuss how the Government can support the BGA’s mission to enforce high standards of shoot management and boost the sale of game at home and abroad.

Jim Shannon MP met the Countryside Alliance earlier in the year to discuss the launch of the British Game Alliance. Following this meeting, the Alliance and Mr Shannon coordinated an approach to Defra asking how the Government could support the BGA’s goals of expanding the market for pheasant and partridge overseas and standards in shoot management. The Minister responded with an invitation to meet in Defra’s offices in central London.

The meeting was held on 22 November, as part of a series of events organised by the Countryside Alliance to celebrate British Game Week. The Minister was pleased to hear the progress the shooting community was making towards self-regulation, with over 300 shoots now signed up to the BGA. Plans were put in place to improve cooperation between the BGA’s marketing of British game and Defra’s efforts to promote British produce overseas, especially in China and the Far East.

Jim Shannon MP said: “The meeting was a positive meeting and it was great to give the minister a wider understanding of the true aims of country sports and the regulation to make it the best that it can be. My sincere thanks to Minister Coffey and to Tom and Liam and we look forward to a great working relationship for the benefit of all.”

Countryside Alliance Head of Campaigns Liam Stokes said: “We know that anti shooting activists are constantly pressuring Defra to take unnecessary action against game shooting, so we felt it was vital to make the Minister aware that the shooting community is taking strides to enforce best practice through the creation of the British Game Alliance standards and auditing regime. The Minister was pleased to hear of the progress we have made so far, which underlines the importance of every shoot signing up to the BGA so those of us who campaign for shooting can confidently say that we are a self-regulating sector.

“We are very grateful to Minister Coffey for attending this meeting, and to Jim Shannon MP for putting this issue on Defra’s agenda.”

Tom Adams, Managing Director of the British Game Alliance, said: “I was very encouraged by Defra’s positive attitude towards aiding the British Game Alliance and wider game industry with the sale and promotion of game, most notably in export.

“Opening new markets outside of Europe is a focal point in the BGA’s strategy to grow the demand for game and having the full support of Defra is crucial in reaching our objectives. We are very excited about the opportunities that await going into next year.”