WELSH Environment Minister Hannah Blythyn has made the wrong decision to ban pheasant shooting, according to a new poll.
Results from a survey carried out by fastmap – a market research agency – show that out of 1,000 Welsh people asked whether they would like pheasant shooting to continue in Wales, 61% responded yes.
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) commissioned this poll following Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) decision to ban pheasant shooting on land owned by the Welsh Government Woodland Estate.
The decision, made in September after a two-year consultation period, has outraged shooting enthusiasts in Wales.
Andrew Gilruth, who is director of communications at GWCT, said: “The new Welsh policy on shooting would even make Donald Trump blush!
“The minister, Hannah Blythyn, has announced her support for the shooting of everything from deer, foxes, crows, magpies, rabbits to squirrels - but bizarrely not pheasants.
“She cited public opinion as the reason for this inconsistency, but this new poll suggests it’s her personal opinion which is driving this muddle.”
Other results in the poll show that 57% of people say the Welsh Government was wrong to ignore the NRW evidence review and 85% say the benefits of shooting are poorly understood.
The findings are in stark contrast to an earlier poll commissioned by League Against Cruel Sports and Animal Aid.
Andrew added: “These results identify a strong correlation between awareness of these benefits and support for pheasant shooting. It also reveals Hannah Blythyn was wrong to end pheasant shooting on Welsh government land and to go against the recommendation of the government body paid to advise her on the environment.
“NRW concluded that pheasant shooting can positively contribute to the Welsh countryside. Her personal intervention now appears to be an expression of her own views rather than public opinion.”
“We commissioned this poll to demonstrate precisely why policy makers ask bodies, such as NRW, to conduct expert reviews here – as the majority of those previously polled had not been told of the environmental or social benefits of pheasant shooting.”
David Cole, managing director at fastmap, said: “The study was based upon a response of 1,000 Welsh adults using an online panel. Response was collected and weighted to match Welsh demographics by age and gender, including those without internet access. The survey was live between 22nd October to the 29th October.”
Recently, GWCT Cymru wrote to members asking them to send this letter (click here to download a printable version) to their local assembly member in hope of setting up a meeting.
To read previous posts on this story visit here and here and here and here
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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