The future of plans to tax gamebirds in England was in doubt last week after the anticipated Animal Health Bill failed to be included in the Queen’s Speech. The Bill would pave the way for the introduction of “Responsibility and cost sharing” (RCS) measures that would make the industry pay for outbreaks of animal diseases. The Government’s proposals amount to a tax on gamebirds which, according to the Game Farmers’ Association (GFA), would cost approximately 12p per bird each time it is sold on whether as a day-old or a poult.

Despite the lack of a draft Bill and questions over whether there is sufficient time in the parliamentary session to pass the legislation, DEFRA last week insisted that it intends to “bring forward a draft Animal Health Bill, which would establish an independent body for animal health in England”.

Additionally, the department announced that it aims to publish the Bill early in January “in good time” for the end of the current parliamentary session. Critics of the RCS proposals say that the Government has not yet even addressed the concerns raised by respondents to the DEFRA consultation on the plan, which closed five months ago.

The rest of this article appears in 25th November issue of Shooting Times.

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