Game shooting could face ?animal disease? tax

A spokesman for the National Gamekeepers? Organisation described the decision as a ?downside? to the spending review, but expressed relief that the policy of a levy on poults proposed by the previous government had been dropped.

He said: ?The farming minister recently indicated that the idea of a ?poult tax? would not go ahead, but clearly there is a Bill somewhere in the pipeline for the shooting world.?

Jonathan Crow, chairman of the Game Farmers? Association, expressed little surprise at the announcement.

He said: ?Given the current economic climate, we expected an element of cost sharing, but it is too early to say what the implications will be. The game farming industry has representatives on the Poultry Health and Welfare Group, which will report back to DEFRA once the consultation process has begun.?

?A new Animal Health body is likely, part of its remit may be to administer the scheme, but how it is made up, and what will be the share of cost between government and farming is yet to be determined. The good news is that farming minister Jim Paice MP seems readier than his predecessor to listen to producers? concerns.?

Mr Crow added: ?It is possible that cost sharing may be focused on the sectors most affected by animal disease in recent times, namely cattle, sheep and pig farmers, rather than the shooting community, but we shall have to wait and see.?

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