THE LAUNCH OF THE BRITISH GAME ALLIANCE
Guest GoG blogger – Tom Adams, Managing Director, British Game Alliance
In 2017 over 50 major representatives from across the shooting community met. They felt enough time had been dedicated to idly discussing the declining market for game meat, and that something needed to be done. Unlike many meetings, this was more than just lip service. Shortly afterwards cogs began to turn and after a year of planning, The British Game Alliance (BGA) launched in May 2018.
The simple fact is that demand for game hasn’t kept up with supply. This is remarkable when we consider the taste, health benefits and environmental footprint game has. Furthermore, if we want to maintain country pursuits as we know them, then we must develop and maintain a market that can absorb our primary product.
The public perception of country sports is still somewhat divided, so if there was ever a time to up our game and be pro-active about game marketing it would be now, engaging those who sit on the fence by educating them on the sustainable food element game represents.
Whilst sorting out the game market is key, an equally important but less attractive side to all this is the standards on shoots, to ensure we all abide by “best practice”. We are the only unregulated food producing sector and we now have an opportunity through the BGA to embrace self-regulation and show that we do have standards to be proud of and are willing to increase and maintain them across the board.
The BGA is the perfect vehicle to deliver this. Importantly, and in support of my comments, we saw in Labour’s recent animal welfare bill, proposals which could forever change our sport. If we do not continue to develop new markets for game and we do not regulate ourselves away from publicly damaging practices, we will find that punitive regulation comes from above.
While this is necessarily severe, we are relentlessly optimistic about the future. Since our launch, it has been a whirlwind. We have had over 100 shoots sign up to the initiative in the past six weeks with many more joining each day. All have agreed to be inspected by our third-party auditors and publicly declare their desire for self-regulation.
We have employed Matt Tough as our Commercial Director who has 30 years’ experience in the food world. We will be building a sales team around him with the aim of opening up new markets and expanding existing ones here at home and abroad for all feathered game.
Having united all the major shooting organisations behind our cause – a sense of unity throughout is felt, something of a rarity. We know our work is just beginning but we have had an excellent start thanks to a lot of like-minded people.
As we work to promote game and the sustainability of our sport, we are inspired by the work of the Gift of Grouse. Grouse and moorlands provide such a good example of why game shooting is a positive influence. Not only are grouse one of the most delicious, healthy and unique foods, but the careful management of moorlands and the biodiversity that follows is world renowned. We look forward to working alongside and supporting the Gift of Grouse as we help new audiences discover the delights of game which will most definitely include our feather footed friend.