As DEFRA analyses the responses to its consultation on the use of raised laying cages which closed on Monday, BASC has emailed a large number of MPs urging them to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM) that calls for an outright ban of the controversial cages.

EDM No 507 was tabled by the Parliamentary spokesman on angling and shooting, Labour MP Martin Salter, on 16 December, and has now attracted 147 signatories as of Friday 22 January. More than 100 of those signatories are Labour MPs, representing nearly one third of the Parliamentary Labour Party. The EDM includes the following: This House notes with concern that several large gamefarms have introduced battery cage systems for gamebird laying stock and that the available space in such cages is so limited that the welfare of the birds is seriously compromised and that the system does not conform, whether enriched or not, to the five freedoms which are the basis of the UK’s animal welfare law.

DEFRA’s draft Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes, which was published in November 2009, offers the industry three different options for using raised laying cages in the production of gamebird eggs in England: (1) retaining the status quo; (2)requiring all raised units to be enriched and banning barren cages; or (3) banning cages.

The Game Farmers’ Association (GFA), the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO), the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the National Farmers’ Union, the Countryside Alliance, the Country Land & Business Association and the British Veterinary Poultry Association are all calling for Option 2. Organisations calling for a ban on all cages under Option 3 include BASC, the RSPCA, Animal Aid and the League Against Cruel Sports.

The rest of this article appears in 20th January issue of Shooting Times.

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  • Dido Bendigo

    After seeing the said Martin Salter MP in action over supporting the ban on hunting with dogs, now this move! I can’t help thinking that he is the equivalent of a ‘Judas Sheep’. That is the one used to pacify its fellows and lead them unsuspectingly to the slaughterers knife, while it is spared to continue with its job. BASC is going downhill fast!