Despite concerns expressed by shooters over security of personal data held on the GB Poultry Register, DEFRA has announced changes that will, as of next week, extend the database’s use into other areas.

These areas will include: planned animal welfare visits to gamefarmers, the management of diseases other than bird flu, and the provision of advice and information to individual keepers of poultry and game.

More controversial proposals, made in a consultation launched last November, included using it to inform Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs of poultry and gamerearing operations and to allow commercial interests to contact those on the Poultry Register directly.

These measures have not been adopted by DEFRA following strong opposition from consultees.

The register, originally established in December 2005 as part of the government’s strategy to combat bird flu, contains the details of thousands of poultry keepers, gamefarmers and gamekeepers.

In 2006, assurances over the security of the data held on the register were issued by DEFRA in an effort to encourage people to sign up.

However, in the recent consultation, many responses still cited concern over animal rights activists and the potential for rural theft as strong reasons not to disseminate the register’s information more widely.

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