Is public money helping to fund the game-shooting industry?

Posted on the 5th September 2023

Animal Aid has been conducting research into businesses that are claiming funds under Rural Payments schemes, including game bird farms and businesses that offer game bird shooting.

From Animal Aid’s research, it appears that the owners of the largest game farm in the country, based in Wales, receive funds under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).  It is not known if the funds are allocated to land used for the game farming and/or shooting business, or to other parcels of land.

It is also not clear, in general, how BPS money allocated to businesses or farmers is used, or what checks are in place to determine eligibility for claiming. A June 2023 email to the Rural Payments Agency asking for the number of game bird farms in the UK that claim BPS and were visited by Field Officers to check for compliance in the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, received the following response:

‘As previously advised, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) does not collect information which determines the business type when businesses register with the RPA or make an application under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). Therefore, we are not able to identify which businesses are classified as ‘game bird farms’. This means the information you requested is not held.’

Animal Aid has written to the Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, to ask the Welsh Government to investigate the administration of BPS funds – not least because ultimately the funding comes from the public purse.

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