Our working relationship with The European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) is strong and has had cause to develop even further of late. FACE’s lobbying work for our way of life goes to the heart of Europe and the work of the group is essential to our success in the UK. Brussels’ world of EU Directives is complex and convoluted but with over seven million hunters in Europe, FACE certainly packs a large punch for a comparatively small organisation. The biggest challenge for FACE this year comes in the much publicised Fitness Check on the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.
Since the Directives were introduced they have seen success for nature and shown due respect to shooting, in particular the cultural heritage of shooting which is so vital to so many of us. Overhauling the Directives will result in nothing less than a free-for-all, with a number of industries interested, and would certainly be a significant threat to shooting. With a number of large industries wanting the Directives weakened and the Conservation bodies wanting them to become stronger, shooting could easily end up in the cross-fire. Restrictions on hunt-able species, introduction of further restrictive legislation and decreasing derogations are just a few examples of the devastation that could occur. Please take just ten minutes to show the Commission this is neither necessary nor worth their time, here.
This week saw the Ammunition Working Group, organised by FACE members, come together in Brussels to debate new evidence and policies. It is always an interesting day of discussion with each country facing different issues and offering up ideas to help move the debate forward. This group enables the Countryside Alliance to keep our members up to date on all the relevant news, such as the recent decision by Austria to stop pursuing the phase-out of lead ammunition and allow us to fight ill-judged moves by international organisations, such as the one that occurred at the Convention of Migratory Species Conference at the end of last year.
The lead debate is on-going and help from FACE and the other members can certainly help us resolve any potential issues and allow us to base our views – and shooting’s future – on principle and scientific evidence.
Executive Chairman Barney White-Spunner