The Welsh Assembly Government has published a code of practice for the welfare of gamebirds reared for sporting purposes, which will come into force on January 1, 2011.
The Welsh Assembly Government has published a code of practice for the welfare of gamebirds reared for sporting purposes.
The code comes into force on the January 1, 2011. It applies to those game farms that rear birds for sporting purposes but not to any establishment that may be farming them for food only.
The code of practice covers the time up to the point of release (that is when they are under the control of man and therefore under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006).
As well as providing information about the current legislation that applies, sections within the code cover specific areas:
- Origin of stock. This includes advice on areas such as record keeping, and the mixing of birds.
- Incubation and Hatching. Advice in areas such as material, walls and flooring, layout, artificial lighting, hygiene and disinfection amongst others.
- Inspection and Husbandry. With advice on issues such as handling, housing systems, health and welfare plans, biosecurity, inspection, protection and contingency planning.
- Food and Water. This section includes information on diet, feed and provisions.
- Management Devices. This covers areas including the use of devices such as bits, spectacles and brailing and makes recommendations about seeking veterinary advice.
- Housing and Penning. Design advice on size, stocking density, lighting, heating and ventilation, shelter and the need for systems to be appropriately enriched.
- Disease Treatment and Record Keeping. This covers ill health, medication and records.
- Catching and Transportation. This includes advice on containers, time in transit, cleansing and disinfection.
- Preparation for Release. Requirements for consideration on health condition and release pens.
Although much of the advice in the draft code of practice will already be carried out by all competent game farmers, it does contain new advice on good practice in a number of areas. This is because either new evidence has shown that certain management practices may directly compromise the birds’ welfare or where the government considers that the practice may compromise the birds’ welfare and leave game farmers vulnerable to prosecution under the 2006 act.
The code is available under the livestock welfare section of the Welsh Assembly Government website.