European Business Environment
British Association for Shooting and
1. BASC: Origin, Structure, Lobby Representatives
The BASC was originally founded in 1908 as the Wildfowler Association of Great Britain
and Ireland by Stanley Duncan. Mr. Duncan’s decision to form the group stemmed from an
engineering career and a personal interest in wildfowling and nature. Specifically, threats from
over-hunting in the British countryside and as a way to counter the, “growing enthusiasm of
extremists bent on total protection of wild birds” were Mr. Duncan’s primary reasons.
In 1981 the organization changed its name to the British Association for Shooting and
Conservation, “in recognition of the fact that shooting sports required a single representative
body and that WAGBI was the most suitable placed organisation to take on that role.”
The BASC’s structure is rooted in Great Britain. The association’s patron in the Duke of
Edinburgh. Below the Duke is a president, chairman, council and chief executive in that order
of power. The national headquarters is in Northern Wales. There are five regional centers in
England, and a national center in each Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. The association
has a dozen departments, including firearms, gamekeeping and game shooting, media and
communications, deer, research, conservation and land management, biodiversity, marketing,
fundraising, wildfowling, membership and shooting standards and training. Finally, the BASC
employs 110 people in total.
The BASC’s primary area of responsibility resides in the United Kingdom protecting the interests
of the group’s approximate 130,000 members. However, their efforts also include conservation
in continental Europe as well. John Swift is legally responsible for the lobby.
2. BASC Missions and Goals
Shooting is considered as a lawful activity in the UK, but it faces a lot of controversy as many
organisations consider it as a threat for the environment and wildlife conservation. Most BASC
members are hunters and shooters. They joined this association to gain representation and help
in order to practise their sport in better conditions.
2.1.1 BASC Missions related to shooting
● Inform on shooting practises and regulation
Provide relevant information to improve condition of shooting thanks to experience and
Some of the topics on which BASC have specific knowledge are:
Airgunning, Clay Shooting, Deer Management, Disruption of shoots, Firearms, Game Shooting,
General licences, Health & safety, Lead & Non-Lead Shot, Muzzle Loading, Pest and Predator
Control, Quarry Identification, Rural land purchase and management, Target Shooting,
Wildfowling, Woodpigeon shooting.
● Advise shooters on best practises through expertise
Advise on shooting techniques, methods and security but also on administrative actions such as
being represented by the local MP or being juridically counselled on disruption of shooting.
● Defend shooter’s rights
Being a controversial activity shooting is everyday questioned and its practise threatened.
BASC is providing tools and human resources to defend shooting position politically and legally.
● Maintain and improve the conditions for shooting in the UK
● Continue to defend shooters rights in the UK and share their interest
For sportsmen and women have been since the creation of the Royal Hunting Forests in
Norman times. Shooting sports have been and continue to be a large incentive for conserving
wildlife and help for the retention of habitat and a driving force in habitat management.
BASC missions are:
● providing advice and services to members to help generate agreements for land to shoot
● providing advice on land purchase and tenures
● provide our Green Shoots programme, working with members and partners to achieve
public conservation targets
● Continuously increase and improve the actions made by members of the BASC toward
the protection and conservation of the wildlife habitat
● Make public opinion aware of the interest of conservation of wildlife diversity and
● Communicate on the actions made by the BASC to preserve and improve wildlife in the
3. BASC Sphere of involvement: issues
selected, targeted institutions,lobbying
3.1. Issues selected
BASC Child Safe Policy
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) recognises that all children have
the right to freedom from abuse regardless of their age, gender, disability, culture, language,
racial origin, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
This policy applies to all staff or volunteers, who in any way deal with, or manage activities
involving children on behalf of the Association.
BASC Policy On Raptors
This policy, in support of both game shooting and the conservation of raptors, seeks to assist
game managers faced with problems from raptors.
BASC Policy on Wildfowling
BASC promotes and protects the sport of wildfowling. It will encourage and facilitate entry to
the sport, support and extend the club structure and represent the sport at all levels. BASC
will furthermore oppose at all levels any restriction being placed upon wildfowling that is not, in
the opinion of both the Council and its Wildfowling Liaison Committee, capable of being shown
by clear evidence to be necessary for the future of wildfowling in the UK and the wildfowl and
wildlife habitat on which wildfowling depends.
BASC policy on lead shot and other sporting ammunition
It is BASC policy that all regulations applying to the use of lead shot in the United Kingdom shall
BASC statement on the Hunting Act
ASC strongly opposes a ban on hunting with dogs, and believes land owners and managers
should be able to choose the most effective methods of pest and predator control for their
circumstances. BASC equally strongly opposes unlawful protest action because it is morally
wrong and likely to be counterproductive.
3.2. Targeted institutions / projects
Game Farmers Association, Independent Experts, National Gamekeepers Organisation,
Country Land and Business Association, Game & Wildlife Conservancy Trust, Royal Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Countryside Alliance, and League Against Cruel
Sports, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs, United Kingdom Parliament- Home Affairs Committee, All Party Parliamentary Group on
Shooting and Conservation, Natural England, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and the RSPB.
Among BASC’s notable projects are Green Shoots, which links members to local biodiversity
plans, Young Shots, which seeks to educate young people about field sports, and Game’s On
which promotes game meat. BASC is a signatory to the Code of Good Shooting Practice and
produces a series of codes of practice on aspects of shooting.
In politics BASC operates on an all-party basis and has scored notable recent victories in
ensuring that shooting was not damaged by the Hunting Act 2004, preserving the legal right for
young people to continue to go shooting with airguns, where they have the permission of the
landowner, and securing an exemption from the ban on the docking of dogs tails for gundogs.
Currently all the major political parties in Britain are pledged to support shooting sports. At the
request of MPs, BASC organises the annual Lords v. Commons clay pigeon shoot.
3.3. Lobbying method
BASC meets with Parliamentary Secretaries, Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State, the
Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to
discuss issues like Control, Lead Ammunition, gamebird codes, Natural Environment White
Paper, the Agri Environment.
BASC Scotland has launched a campaigning website which allows people to look up their
Parliamentary candidates to assess their views on shooting issues. It allows shooters to email
an automated text, which can be edited and personalised, to candidates to point out that
shooting is an important part of the countryside and an important issue to their constituents.
Candidates will be given the opportunity to respond.
4. Concrete examples of the results
4.1 Code of Good Shooting Practice
British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has authored a Code of Good
Shooting Practice, along with various other codes of good practice which are voluntary
guidelines. BASC claims that adherence to these practices will address all animal welfare
concerns which arise from the shooting business. There is no legal penalty, if not followed.
4.2 Hunting Act
BASC has been able to successfully lobby on behalf of shooting interests for an exemption to
the Hunting Act. This act allows shooting estate employees to continue the hunting of foxes with
their dogs. BASC has produced a code of practice for terrier work which is legally binding and is
a very detailed guide of good practice, though which is not legally binding. In February 2005, the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) approved the statutory code of
practice – written by BASC . This code of practice governs the manner in which the dogs can be
4.3 Lobbying Success Wildlife and Natural
Environment Bill Ireland
BASC has been successful in ensuring that amendment 23, which was tabled in the
assembly in the consideration stage of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, is withdrawn.
Amendment 23, a controversial amendment which was tabled with the aim to give the
Department, the power to prohibit or restrict shooting in, adjoining or surrounding Areas of
Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). This was a major concern for many members of BASC.
4.4 Extension of season for Deer
After successfully lobbying by BASC, Defra has announced that it will now be extending the
season for deer by four weeks, instead of two weeks as originally planned. Other changes to
the deer laws include: allowing smaller calibre rifles to be used to shoot Chinese Water Deer
and Muntjac and allowing licensed taking of deer out of season and at night to protect natural
heritage, preserve public health and safety, or prevent serious property damage.
4.4 General Licences - BASC lobbying leads to
Last year the Welsh Assembly ran a consultation on proposed changes to the Welsh General
Licences. After successful lobbying by BASC, which lobbied for more time than the proposed
one month for pest controllers to adapt to any proposed changes. The Assembly Government
4.5 BASC Scotland lobbying
BASC Scotland has launched a campaigning website that allows shooters to find out their
Parliamentary candidate’s views on shooting issues before May’s elections for the Scottish
Parliament. The website also allows shooters to send a personalised automated email to
candidates, who are then able to respond. and stress the important role their sport plays in the
countryside and to comment on other shooting-related issues, such as the devolution of airgun
4.6 Amendment of Airgun Law in Scotland
In January, after an invitation by the Scottish government BASC submitted evidence arguing
that there was no need for further regulation of airguns in Scotland, and therefore no need for
the devolution of airgun law.
5. The relevance in the European
Europe’s rash of over-hunting and deforestation over the last several hundred years has
presented a unique challenge and need for the BASC. While BASC does not reach into the
continental European community, organizations like it are needed because, without them, there
could be further destruction of the natural ecosystem and loss of natural resources.
The BASC’s deep involvement in deer, conservation, and land management, go far beyond
simple gun protection laws. In fact, by joining forces with similarly minded organizations in
continental Europe, the BASC helps to deliver positive environmental dividends for all who are
interested in sport shooting, hunting, and wildfowling.
It should not be inferred that the BASC condones individual gun ownership laws like those found
in the United States, helping to ensure safer communities. But, BASC argues that their role in
European affairs will also help minimize pest infestations.