The debate over the register’s use was called into question in December 2007, after it emerged that the data might be made available to outside bodies.

The register was initially established in 2005, to control diseases such as bird flu and Newcastle disease, but the Government now wants the information to be accessible to plan inspections for welfare and tax purposes as well as sending out mailshots.

DEFRA commented: “We would now like to explore whether the personal data on the GBPR could be used more widely to improve the service that we can offer to poultry keepers while continuing to ensure that it is kept secure and used lawfully. Use of this data for other purposes will benefit both Government and farmers as it will allow better joined up working and will reduce the need to ask for the same data on numerous occasions.”

At the time of its launch, DEFRA was at pains to reassure the gameshooting community of the security of any data supplied for the poultry register. The fact that DEFRA has since acted so quickly to broaden the reach of the GBPR has done little to allay fears that the game industry will have its concerns listened to following this consultation.

To view the consultation documents visit DEFRA

Email submissions can be made to DEFRA until 5 February.

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

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