Latest update on the British Game Alliance

by John Duncan

Roxtons has been delighted to have been involved with the setting up of the British Game Alliance (BGA). We will be asking all shoots that we deal with to sign up over the next 18 months as well as including a voluntary levy of 50 pence per bird for the BGA on our balance invoices for next season.

Tom Adams, the BGA Chief Executive gives us an update below of the progress made over the last four months. Hopefully the information gives you a good understanding of where the BGA is at this time. 

What Is The BGA:

The British Game Alliance exists to promote the sale of game across all sectors as a national marketing board. Running its ‘British Game’ assurance scheme for participating shoots, allows members to boast ‘best practice’ whilst accessing new markets and benefiting from the increased value of game.

Progress So Far;

– Unanimous support and backing from all shooting NGO’s: CA, BASC, GWCT, MA, CLA, NGO, GFA, COGSP.

– Support from The All Party Parliamentary Group for Shooting along with valued support from the MP’s Richard Benyon and Simon Hart. 

– Finalised BGA Shoot Standards with input from all of the shooting bodies. These can be seen here

– Pricing structure for shoot membership which can be seen here.

– In promising discussions with large food procurers interested in taking assured game, both in the UK and abroad.  

– Commissioned market research into the public’s perception of game and their buying habits. 

– We have agreed to partner with Acoura, who run the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme, pioneered the Scottish Quality Wild Venison and Wildlife Estates Scotland. They will conduct external auditing of 20% of the BGA shoots annually, as well as investigating and reporting on credible complaints raised. This will give us teeth, credibility and an assured product which retailers and distributors can rely on.

Hoping To Confirm Soon

– DEFRA approval and support. 

– Guarantee all BGA shoots have a home for their birds across the UK for the 2018/19 season. 

– Key commercial partnerships within the industry to help fund and drive us forward. 

– We are close to commissioning original research into the effect of lead in game.

What’s Next;

– Website to be live and fully functional by 1st May. This will be an online market platform for the buying and selling of game, whether you’re the public looking to purchase game, a shoot looking for a new dealer or a food processor looking to buy game commercially. All accredited shoots will be listed and promoted to the shooting community. Further ‘membership’ benefits to be announced. 

– The BGA’s official launch is on the 21st May in London, invites will be issued in due course. 

Who’s Behind This;

– Many thanks to the “Sporting Agents Committee” (Dylan Williams, John Duncan, Mark Osborne, Gwyn Evans and Adam Moreton) who have got the BGA to this stage, investing their time, money and resources. The committee is to be disbanded, making way for a board of directors and an advisory committee. 

– We are pleased to announce that Ivan Shenkman will be the BGA’s Chairman:

‘Ivan set up upmarket food wholesale company London Larder in 1980 and sold it to Brakes in 1992. He then founded PSL which grew to be the UK’s largest food purchasing consultancy working with over 2,000 clients throughout the UK. In 2016 he sold PSL to global player Sodexo who are seeking to roll out the PSL concept across Europe and beyond. He remains on the board.

Ivan has taken a keen interest in country pursuits for as long as he can remember and is passionate about making sure our sport is both well-regulated and well placed for the future’.

– We are also very pleased to announce, Alan Beynon, Managing Director and founding member of the St. David’s Vets practice to the board. St. David’s are the leading game bird vets with 12 regional offices and overseeing the health of millions of game birds nation-wide. His wealth of knowledge and experience of the game sector will be a huge asset to the BGA board.

– We are now in the process of building a relevant board around Ivan with expertise in retail, food supply chains, and PR. 

– The Advisory Committee will be made up of regional shoot representatives, key stakeholders and NGO’s. They will ensure the board is fully informed of industry news, views and requirements. This is being put together as I write. 

– We are looking to employ an experienced food marketeer and sales person in the coming months to ensure we deliver our goals along with the aspirations of our members. 

Your Support Is Needed;

– We need all shoots to participate in this initiative. It’s not about whether you have a market for your game it’s about dealing with the surplus of game that is all of our problems. we all have to invest in our end product like any other farming sector, finding new markets and increasing the demands of existing ones. We are all in this together and can’t afford to pass the buck on. If we fail, we all fail together. 

– This is also about coming together to put forward a united front in the face of an ever-growing opposition to show we can self-regulate and abide by high standards. If we think we can continue business as usual, then we are heading to an early grave. We have to move forward and continually raise the bar. 

– The BGA will need the support of key influencers such as yourself to lead the way and encourage others to follow. Please do pass this on to keep shoots and industry stakeholder fully informed.

“I welcome the positive steps being taken by the BGA to raise and maintain standards in shooting, it gives confidence to legislators that statutory intervention is unnecessary. The actions being taken by the BGA is crucial in promoting our product to a wider audience whilst ensuring a ‘best practice’ approach is adhered to.” Simon Hart, MP

Please do check back in on the website after the 1st May to sign up.