New recommendations regarding the rearing of gamebirds have been issued in the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s (FAWC) new report, Opinion on the Welfare of Farmed Gamebirds, which was published on 13 November.

The report was commissioned by the Government in advance of the development of a statutory Code of Practice on the Welfare of Farmed Gamebirds, which is expected to be published in 2009, as part of the Animal Welfare Act.

The report looks at the welfare of Britain’s farmed gamebirds. It focuses on breeding, rearing prior to release and management and support after release. Most of the welfare concerns relate to the selection and sourcing of breeding stock, housing systems, confinement, transport, stockmanship and the use of various bird management devices.

“This report aims to advise Government about contemporary welfare issues facing farmed gamebirds. The Government is working with the industry on a code of practice for the breeding and rearing of gamebirds and we hope that our conclusions will add to that process,” said the FAWC’s Professor Christopher Wathes.

Recommendations include the adoption of Flock Health and Welfare Plans, an end to the use of spectacles and the phasing out of barren cages for both pheasants and partridges.

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

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