Gamekeepers looking for common ground

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The National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) on stand 20 is exhibiting for the first time after receiving a special invitation from event organisers, NPTA. The belief is that gamekeepers and professional pest controllers have a good deal of common ground and that by getting to know each other better both groups will learn from each other.

There has certainly been a good deal of criticism levelled at gamekeepers and the way they use rodenticides, with a good deal of it coming from pest controllers, but how accurate is this? We need to remember that by no means all of those claiming to be professional pest controllers use rodenticide responsibly.


The National Gamekeepers Organisation currently has a membership of around 5,500 professional gamekeepers with a further 10,000 supporter members. Whilst in terms of general countryside movements this membership is small, as a professional body representing gamekeepers in England & Wales, it is a significant player. It is managed as a not-for-profit organisation.

The NGO shot to prominence in the pest control world when it raised concerns about the restrictions being placed on the outdoor use of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides earlier this year. It has lobbied hard to maintain outdoor use.

As the NGO’s Tim Weston explained: “When the outdoor use issue came up, we were surprised to find just how many of our members combined working as a professional pest controller with their gamekeeping. Our two industries have a lot in common. Gamekeepers and pest controllers do very similar jobs, just in different environments.

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“We have a lot to learn from each other and not just about rodenticides. The field craft of snaring, for example, is something we get involved in organising training courses for and might well be of interest to pest controllers.

“We’d also be very interested to hear pest controllers’ views about whether the level of vermin is increasing, stable or decreasing. Sarah Read who works on the Northumberland grouse moors will be on our stand so do come along and speak to her.”

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