To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that game farms are compliant with the keeping gamebirds Codes of Practice.
18 June 2021
We are committed to maintaining our position as world leaders in farm animal welfare and want to improve and build upon that record, working in partnership with farmers to support healthier, higher welfare animals. As referenced in the recently published Action Plan for Animal Welfare we are actively exploring options for strengthening the UK system moving forward and are examining the evidence around the use of cages in farming, including their use for breeding pheasants and partridges.
The welfare of gamebirds is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes offers additional protection and provides keepers with guidance on how to meet the welfare needs of their gamebirds as required by the 2006 Act. It recommends that barren cages for breeding pheasants and small barren cages for breeding partridges should not be used and that any system should be appropriately enriched.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) carry out targeted inspections on gamebird farms. Advice on compliance with the gamebird code and welfare legislation is a key component of all APHA inspections. Appropriate action is taken against anyone who breaks the law.