European federation for hunting and conservation
F.A.C.E. Official position on bowhunting, 8.9.20
EBF gains full associate membership of F.A.C.E.
It is with great pleasure that I can announce that the EBF, (European Bowhunting Federation) who the BBA hold a vice presidency with are now full Associate members of F.A.C.E. This is a significant step forward for Bowhunting in Europe.
Director of Communications at BASC Christopher Graphius, is Board member of FACE and I need not state the significance of the FACE acceptance of the EBF. Well done to Anders Gejer and Gabrielle Smart ( president and representative of European Bowhunting Federation) and all those involved for their commitment and dedication.
Anders and Gabrielle on his right at the FACE meeting.
EUROPEAN BOWHUNTERS FEDERATION ASSEMBLY
The European Bowhunting Federation (EBF) held its annual general assembly in the small village of Biatorbágy on the outskirts of Budapest, Hungary. Following a notable absence in recent years, the UK was this year represented by BBA Chairman Andy Bacigalupo and Secretary Steve Johnson.
By way of introduction, the EBF has a number of respected conservationists within its ranks and has links to many international NGO’s. One of its key functions is to provide guidance and advice to governmental and non-governmental organisations regarding Bowhunting legislation matters. EBF members must have a registered and functioning national Bowhunting association. In addition, it is becoming increasingly desirable for members to have a formal affiliation with one of their own national conservation organisations. So it was with a degree of self-consciousness and anticipation that we, the BBA representatives, attended the opening address on Saturday morning.
We certainly weren’t disappointed. Representatives from 17 European nations had travelled to the AGM from all corners of the continent. The level of representation was as diverse as many of the languages spoken. These included a taxidermist from the Czech Republic, a filmmaker from Russia, an overland safari operator from Lithuania, a doctor, a linguist, an accountant and a variety of other business owners, all equally enthusiastic about Bowhunting opportunities in Europe
As if to demonstrate the high regard in which the EBF and its members are held in Hungary, the opening address was conducted by a representative from the Hungarian Ministry for Rural Development. This was followed with an address by EBF President Anders Gejer of Sweden and renown Bowhunter and conservationist Juha Kylma of Finland. To add to the occasion we were all informed that the entire EBF assembly had been invited to attend the prestigious International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) 60th Annual Conference, which was being held in the centre of Budapest throughout the weekend. The CIC had invited the EBF to provide a presentation on Bowhunting on Sunday 28 April.
With the assembly now opened, all members were asked to provide an update on their own status and progress on national Bowhunting initiatives. This was of particular interest to us, as it was a chance to hear how different EBF members are managing to ‘sell’ Bowhunting in their own countries. Of all the delegations the French stood out as particularly well organised with a very effective Bowhunting legislation and their own national training program to rival IBEP. Much attention was also reserved for the very colourful Rita-Anette Kohava of Estonia who’s own association had helped reintroduce Bowhunting legislation for small game only 3 days previously. The un-official Spanish delegate Javier Sintes Pelaz also gave a very impressive account of himself and the state of Bowhunting in Spain, as will become apparent later in this article.
It was then the turn for the BBA to deliver its own update. This included our membership status, an update on Bowhunt Scotland and Ian Kirkwood’s & BBA’s joint campaign to engage with Scottish Natural Heritage. We were also pleased to announce our recent positive discussions with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). The EBF President Anders Gejer was particularly enthusiastic about the BBA’s engagement with BASC and took the opportunity to explain this in the context of the EBF’s own ongoing campaign.
Anders explained that the EBF is currently engaged with the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation in Europe (FACE). This international NGO is without peer and represents the interests of hunters, wildlife conservation and sustainable wildlife management in 38 European countries. FACE has recently indicated that they would allow the EBF an affiliated membership. However this would be strictly subject to the EBF member organisations being formally recognised by their own national conservation organisations. A BBA affiliation to BASC in the UK would be one of the pieces to the jigsaw that would make EBF eligible for FACE affiliation. From a BBA point of view, it goes without saying that an affiliation to FACE would significantly elevate the status of Bowhunting in Europe and therefore also in UK.
Remaining on the subject of FACE, one of the key points on the assembly’s agenda was to vote for the first EBF member that would represent the EBF at FACE meetings, in the event of EBF being offered formal affiliation. Gabrielle Smart of the 'Federation Francaise des Chasseurs a l'Arc' (FFCA) won the vote by a clear majority and given France's advanced national Bowhunting program and their obvious level of commitment it was in the BBA’s opinion a natural choice.
On Sunday afternoon 28 April, all EBF members travelled to the Marriot Hotel Conference Centre in the centre of Budapest to attend the EBF presentation to CIC. The magnitude of this international event is difficult to overstate. As we arrived at the conference hall, Prince Alexandre Poniatowski of Poland announced the afternoon’s proceedings. In similar fashion the 50-minute slot for the EBF presentation followed hot-on-the-heels of Baron Dr. Wulf Gordian Hauser of Austria’s own presentation.
After an introduction by EBF President Anders Gejer, co-founder Juha Kylma, and the Hungarian Bowhunting representative Arpad Ambrozy, the stage was handed to Javier Sintes Pelaz of Spain. Javier provided a fascinating account of a recent request by the Spanish authorities to use Bowhunters to conduct a cull of an uncontrollable wild-boar population in a northern suburb of Madrid. The cull was conducted in conjunction with a government sponsored scientific research program on the physical effects of Bowhunting methods on wild game. To cut a long story short, the evidence presented by the research authority at the end of the program was compelling. It provides the most up-to-date and accurate analysis available, of the effects of a correctly placed arrow on wild game. Needless to say the results have great potential for future campaigns of the EBF and they are currently in the process of being professionally translated into English, prior to being distributed to all members.
Of equal importance was the immediate impact of the EBF presentation on the CIC audience. During the first break, Javier Sintes Pelaz was approached by a Belgian government representative to discuss his program in more detail and CIC representatives for Russia and the Baltic states made a beeline for their counterparts. In the meantime the BBA delegation had somewhat less success in their search for their own UK CIC representatives.
Left to right, Javier Sintes Pelaz, Juha Kylma, Arpad Ambrozy and Anders Gejer speaking.
In summary though, we the BBA delegation were more than a little proud that we had been able to represent UK Bowhunting interests in such a high-profile environment. We may still be a relatively small group in the wider Bowhunting world, but we punch with equal weight to our counterparts and as this weekend demonstrated, we are certainly taken as seriously. The BBA’s Andy and Steve hope that the events of this weekend show that the BBA has matured from being a loose group of likeminded enthusiasts, to being an internationally respected organisation with a clear and promising future. There is a game plan and its very much on track.
Finally, a big thank you to all our members and supporters. Without your support the British Bowhunting community would have no representation in Europe. Here’s to continued progress and next years EBF assembly.
Outdoor writer, Adrian Caddy has had an article published, 'Ancient and Modernised.
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