EU-wide industry protocols for importing gamebirds to the UK need to be revised, according to the Game Farmers’ Association (GFA).

The call comes after more than 2,500 dead or dying pheasant and partridge chicks — presumed to be imported from France — were found by the RSPCA dumped in boxes in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on 1 July (News, 9 July).

“The GFA would like to reassure gamefarmers that it is currently investigating the incident with the co-operation of the RSPCA,” said GFA chairman Jonathan Crow. He added: “All the evidence points to a dumping from a Continental delivery lorry that had a breakdown of some sort, causing the majority of the birds to die from heat stress in transit. Whatever the reason, this is wholly unacceptable and UK farmers are rightly angry that this could be seen to reflect on them. We believe we may have tracked down the supplier responsible and we will be lobbying for some sort of protocol to be put in place to stop this happening again.”

Mr Crow added that the GFA will also be approaching Continental gamefarms to enquire about their contingency plans for dealing with “in transit” mortality. “If nothing is in place then we need assurances from the gamefarmers that in future they are aware of their legal requirement to notify Animal Health, which will arrange to have dying birds destroyed. Dead stock will be dealt with by Trading Standards. This course of action obviously applies as much to UK farms as to those who are importing stock,” he said.

To report information, contact the RSPCA, tel 0300 1234999

The rest of this article appears in 22nd July issue of Shooting Times.

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