Hunters have called for the value of country sports to be recognised in the new relationship between the EU and the UK post-Brexit.
FACE, the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU, and its UK regional group FACE UK, have asked for specific policies to protect trade and travel for hunters and those who shoot.
In a leaflet which will be distributed to MEPs, FACE has highlighted that hunting is worth an estimated 16 billion Euros to the European economy annually and is directly involved in the management of 65 per cent of EU territory.
The leaflet says that four key areas must be recognised and protected in any Brexit settlement, including the ability for hunters to travel in the EU without additional bureaucracy or cost and arrangements for the easy movement of shotguns and rifles.
FACE has also called for frictionless and free trade in firearms, component parts, ammunition, game meat and gamebirds as well as arrangements to be put in place for the easy movement of working animals such as dogs, ferrets and horses.
Ludwig Willnegger, secretary general of FACE, said: “Europe’s seven million hunters play a vital role in the management and conservation of Europe’s natural environment and contribute to the economic and social well-being of communities across Europe.
“The new relationship between the EU and UK needs to recognise the importance of hunting and avoid any restrictions which would damage this important sector.”
Christopher Graffius, chairman of FACE UK, said: “While Britain has taken the historic decision to leave the European Union, it is very important that the rights of those who shoot, hunt and fish are protected.
“FACE UK will be working with FACE to ensure that residents of the UK and the EU continue to have the ability to trade, travel and contribute to the significant economic and environmental benefits that country sports offer.”
The FACE Brexit leaflet is available for download here.