Campaigners targeted the university in September, pushing the institute to ban the raising and shooting of pheasants and partridges on its land.
The University of Reading has been slammed for its ‘seriously damaging’ ban on game shooting following pressure from animal rights campaigners.
The university, which is respected for its agricultural status, said it will not renew the agreement when its licence ends in February 2020.
Campaigners targeted the university in September, pushing staff to ban the raising and shooting of pheasants and partridges on its land at Hall Farm, Aborfield.
But groups opposing the ban said it would ‘seriously damage’ both the university’s own reputation and the biodiversity on its farm.
Sam Carlisle of the Countryside Alliance said: “The shoot worked tirelessly on a number of conservation schemes.
“Through this ban, the university has turned its back on prevailing science and, unless it intends to invest tens of thousands of additional pounds each year in providing safe habitats, there will be a significant impact on a number of red and amber listed species which currently thrive thanks to the management provided by the shoot.”
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), which submitted evidence to the university to counter the ‘un-evidenced and emotive campaign statements made by extremists’, said it was ‘astonished’ with the conclusion the university had reached.
The shoot was small and well-managed, it said.
A BASC spokesperson said: “This is not a decision based on clear, sound evidence that shooting is good for economies and the environment, rather a response to placate extremists.”
The university said it considered evidence from groups both in favour and against the practice, as well as comments from students, staff and members of the public.
It previously said it used the shoot as part of the ‘day-to-day management’ of its land.
A spokesperson said: “The University of Reading is known in the region and around the world as a leading centre for the study of agriculture, food and the environment.
“While there are many arguments for and against game shooting, this decision was taken based on what is the most appropriate use of university land, based on our values and plans for the future.”