As you may know Defra published the detials of their decision after the consultation process on the use of cages. As BASC have been saying all the time, this will have no detrimenal affect on traditional partridge boxes, as some had claimed,
BASC welcomes Defra decision on laying cages.
15th March 2010 . .immediate release
BASC has welcomed the Governments decision to specify minimum space, already observed by almost all English game farms, for gamebird laying stock within the proposed game farming code of practice for England. The decision supports traditional game farming and the continuation of game shooting with its contribution to the environmental and economic well-being of the countryside.
The code of practice has now been laid before parliament. The code should ensure high standards of welfare in game farming. This would include not placing birds in very small spaces, a practice currently followed by only a few game farms in England, and enrichment of the environment for laying birds.
Traditional pheasant laying pens, partridge pair boxes or raised cages can continue to be used if they provide at least the specified minimum spaces per bird. Any new or existing system which does not conform should not be used after the code comes into effect. This is scheduled for October 2010.
BASC Director of Communications, Christopher Graffius, said: The Government and particularly Defra ministers are to be congratulated on reaching a decision which ensures the future of game shooting and high standards of animal welfare.
The issue of cages has been controversial. BASC welcomes the fact that the worst fears of some such as an end to all partridge production and the potential end of all game shooting in the UK will not be realised. We hope that all shooting interests will continue to co-operate to ensure the highest standards within shooting and game rearing.
Notes to editors
1. The Game Farming Code of Practice results from the Animal Welfare Act (2006). The Code must lie before parliament for 40 sitting days excluding time taken for a general election and parliamentary recess - before being approved. It is scheduled to come into effect in October 2010. The Code only applies to England. Consultations are now underway on similar codes for Scotland and Wales.
2. BASC is aware of a few game farms in England using cages measuring 6x3x18 to house either a maximum of 11 pheasants and 24 partridges in subdivided compartments for their economic lives.
3. The new code specifies that pheasants should not be kept in spaces below the specified minimum of 1 square metre per bird, 0.5 square metres per grey partridge and 0.29 square metres per redleg partridge. These spaces comply with the common practice on British game farms.