Dear Field reader,

Unless it is withdrawn or voted down in Parliament, there are now just 26 sitting days left before Defra’s Code of Practice for the Welfare of gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes will achieve automatic approval.

If approved, from 1 October it will require that in England:

No incoming birds shall be mixed with existing laying stock “for the duration of the breeding season.”

All captive gamebirds shall be checked carefully at least twice a day.

The siting of any release pens shall “take into consideration the avoidance of subsequent harm or injury, for example by predators or vehicles.”

Laying systems below specified arbitrary sizes shall not be allowed, affecting about a quarter of all current game egg production in England.

Approaching half of all the game shot in the UK comes from laying systems (many located overseas) that will, in effect, have been banned by Parliament in this country. Not a good thing for shooting. And a precedent will have been set for banning things on appearances and against the best available
welfare advice. Not good for shooting either.

Supportive politicians of all colours must be made aware of the need for this code to be changed.

Charles Nodder

Adviser to The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation

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