A letter from Liam Bell our Chairman has been published in the January 2020 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine.
The release of pheasants into the countryside (November issue) must of course be sustainable, which is why the National Gamekeepers' Organisation fully supports the existing code setting out appropriate release densities below which scientists are generally agreed that the practice does no harm.
Science also shows that releasing pheasants for shooting provides important incentives for creating habitats and managing woodlands in ways beneficial to a wide range of species. Land with well-run shoots invariably has more wildlife, as has been demonstrated by research time and again. So, like most things, releasing gamebirds is a balance and one that gamekeepers are experienced in getting right.
One further point, the pheasant was described as being 'non-native' in the article, and yet it was also pointed out that the species first came to Britain with the Romans. What is or is not 'non-native' is largely a matter of which cut-off date you choose. Those who feel that 'non-natives' of such antiquity are unworthy of a place in the UK should note that valued species such as the brown hare, roe deer, most farm crops and nearly all garden plants are no less 'non-native' than the pheasant.
National Gamekeepers' Organisation