The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) demonstration shoot at Loddington in Leicestershire has passed the Aim to Sustain (A2S) Game Assurance scheme with flying colours. The standards include assessment of animal health and welfare, food quality, environmental enhancement and protection, appropriate stocking levels, staff training and health and safety.
The scheme guarantees the quality of game meat for consumers through the A2S Assurance stamp, so they know that their game comes from an audited, high-quality source. It also reassures visiting Guns that the shoot is run in accordance with the Code of Good Shooting Practice and is achieving a significant biodiversity net gain.
GWCT advisor Alex Keeble who hosts shoot days at Loddington said:
“Best practice game management has been pioneered at Loddington over 30 years, and many of the standards contained in the Assurance were developed here, so we are naturally delighted to be accredited. I’m pleased to say the process was straightforward, efficient and educational and would recommend it to all shoots large or small.”
The Assurance scheme is a critical element of self-regulation. It allows estates and game farms to provide proof of best practice. This evidence is important to help the shooting community communicate to politicians, policy makers and the wider public the incredibly positive impact of game management on the countryside and biodiversity. At Loddington, for example, the ‘three-legged stool’ of habitat creation and management, supplementary winter feeding and predator control achieved a 100% increase in the breeding songbird population across the 790-acre farm.
GWCT director of advisory and education, Dr Roger Draycott, said:
“As A2S’s independent scientific advisor the GWCT would encourage all shoot managers to join the A2S Assurance scheme, which is in line with the Trust’s science-based Guidelines for Sustainable Gamebird Releasing. When game managers apply best practice measures, they can double the wildlife in the farmed environment and demonstrate their vital role in national nature recovery.”
A2S Assurance AdvisorMike Fellows, said:
“We at A2S are thrilled that the Loddington shoot has sailed through the independent audit. The GWCT is the leading scientific authority in our sector and the one our industry relies on for expert information and advice. It is at the forefront of promoting and defending sustainable game shooting through education and training based on robust scientific research. To have the backing of the Trust sends a clear message that by adhering to relevant legislation and working to best industry practice, we can protect our sector and way of life through self-regulation.”
Win an exclusive shoot day at Loddington
Guns entering GWCT’s online draw to win a day’s shooting for a team of eight Guns at Loddington next season will have a chance to see for themselves what an A2S Game Assurance scheme accredited shoot looks like. GWCT advisors Alex Keeble and Amber Lole will host the day and be on hand to explain the research behind the shoot’s management. The prize includes accommodation the night before, five drives plus elevenses and lunch. Tickets are limited to 500 at £50 each with money raised funding further GWCT research.
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What is Aim to Sustain?
Aim to Sustain is a partnership of UK rural organisations formed to highlight the crucial role that sustainable game management plays in tackling climate change and delivering biodiversity net gain through protecting cherished rural landscapes and supporting a wide range of wildlife.
The partnership also showcases the contribution that game management makes to sustaining rural communities, providing high-quality food and making the countryside a place that visitors treasure. Its central aims are to secure all these benefits for future generations and promote the highest standards of self-regulation.
The organisations committed to the Aim to Sustain partnership include the Countryside Alliance (CA), British Game Alliance (BGA), British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Country Land & Business Association (CLA), Game Farmers’ Association (GFA), Moorland Association (MA), National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) and Scottish Land and Estates (SLE). The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is its scientific advisor.
What is A2S Game Assurance?
Aim to Sustain Game Assurance is a voluntary game assurance scheme that provides evidence for game shoots, estates and game farms who are members, that they have been certified to demanding standards. Certified shoots, estates and game farms demonstrate a commitment to self-regulation at a high level by allowing a specialist assurance auditor to come and assess their shoot, estate or game farm.
This audit and certification is carried out by Intertek SAI Global – a world-renowned, highly experienced, and accredited certification body who understand the game management and shooting sector. This gives confidence that game meat from certified members has been produced to the highest standards, from breeding and rearing through release, to the shoot itself.
For more information visit Assurance - Aim to Sustain