Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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New steps to improve gamebirds’ welfare
64/10 Ministers today issued a new code for the welfare of birds produced as quarry for shooting enthusiasts.
The new code will set out how keepers can best meet the welfare needs of gamebirds, including recommendations on providing food and water and the use of certain types of equipment, as well as space allowances for housing breeding pheasants and partridges to ensure the birds are not kept in overcrowded conditions.
Recommended minimum space allowances will be:
· pheasants - one square metre per bird
· grey partridges - 0.5 square metres per bird
· red leg partridges - 0.29 square metres per bird
Jim Fitzpatrick, Animal Health and Welfare Minister, said:
“The government promised to address concerns about the welfare of gamebirds, and I believe that the new code strikes the right balance between welfare needs and protecting businesses.”
There are about 7,500 registered farms and shoots rearing 50 or more gamebirds a year in England. Large game farms using cages for breeding birds can produce up to three million eggs a year.
Sport shooters will be encouraged to use only birds supplied and raised by game farms and shoots observing the code.
The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes is due to come into effect on 1 October this year, and is online at:
Notes for Editors
1. The Code is made under powers conferred by section 14 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the “2006 Act”), applies in England only and has been issued under section 15 of that Act by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
2. The Code explains how rearers of gamebirds can meet the welfare needs of their animals, as required under section 9 of the 2006 Act.
3. The Code was drafted by a working group of representatives from the gamebird industry, shooting interest and animal welfare organisations, and was publicly consulted on.
4. Evidence of failure to follow the Code could be used in court to support a case of poor welfare.
Defra Press Office
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