A Government decision on the use of raised laying cages for producing gamebird eggs could be announced within days.

If DEFRA’s finalised Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes, which applies to all gamefarmers in England, is to make it on to the statute book by the target implementation date of 6 April, the minister for food, farming and environment, Jim Fitzpatrick, will have to sign it off imminently. This is so that it can then go before Parliament for the required 40 sitting days.

The most contentious issue within the code is the question of whether or not raised laying cages should be allowed, and if so in what form. DEFRA’s recently completed public consultation on the draft code presented stakeholders with three different options: (1) retaining the status quo;(2) requiring all raised units to be enriched and banning barren cages; or (3) banning cages altogether.

The rest of this article appears in 3rd February issue of Shooting Times.

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