Shooting organisations have lauded as “extremely positive news” the news that Defra have objected to Wild Justice’s judicial review seeking to restrict gamebird releases, describing the move as ‘vexatious’ and ‘pointless’. Defra have asked the court to refuse Wild Justice permission to bring the claim and asked to be awarded costs.
Wild Justice – an organisation led by campaigners Chris Packham, Mark Avery and Ruth Tingay – are attempting to substantially amend their judicial review to ensure that the 2021 release of game birds and the review currently being undertaken by Defra on gamebird releasing is not carried out unlawfully. Defra noted in its submissions to the court that Wild Justice are ‘shooting at the wrong target’ and should be refused permission to amend the judicial review.
A spokesperson for the four shooting membership organisations (BASC, Countryside Alliance, the Game Farmers’ Association and the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation) said: “We welcome the fact that the Government has taken such a strong line in resisting this wholesale change of approach from Wild Justice. This judicial review is clearly misdirected in terms of the law and serves no purpose. Resources and expertise should be going towards reviewing gamebird releases, not unnecessary and pointless court cases.”