Implementing DEFRA’s new gamebird code will cost English gamefarmers as much as £6.6million in order to bring existing laying systems into line with the code, according to the Game Farmers’ Association (GFA).

The GFA last week published an initial assessment of the impact of the new code’s effect on gamerearing. It estimates that 43 per cent of partridge and six per cent of pheasant egg production will be hit. It also believes the total annual cost arising from other new requirements will be in the order of £5.7million. The figures relate to direct costs to game rearers, and the GFA emphasised that its report is provisional. It invited all interested parties to comment so that a final impact assessment of the new changes can be made.

GFA chairman Jonathan Crow told Shooting Times: “The report shows the shooting industry facing massive problems next year with no welfare benefit, all arising from late changes made to the code without consultation. Whereas the draft code seen by the public was based on existing good practice and so would have had little impact, the final version laid before Parliament two weeks ago effectively bans not only raised laying systems but also affects many other aspects of game rearing. Further unnecessary costs will be imposed by involving vets in routine procedures and increasing the frequency of checking birds.”

The rest of this article appears in 31st March issue of Shooting Times.

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