Animal Aid

Animal Aid welcomes critique of Animal Welfare Bill

Posted 8 December 2004

Hen pecked pheasant

EFRA COMMITTEE VOICES CONCERNS OVER PET FAIRS AND PHEASANT REARING

Animal Aid welcomes the report published today by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) on the draft Animal Welfare Bill. Throughout its report, the Select Committee is highly critical of the lack of openness with which the Government formulated its proposals - accusing it of prejudging a number of important issues.

The Committee was additionally 'extremely concerned' that the draft bill actually 'downgrades existing legal protection' by not outlawing unnecessary suffering arising from negligence or neglect. The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Bill focuses only upon suffering caused by deliberate acts of cruelty.

On the issues of pet fairs and 'game' bird rearing, the Committee's recommendations strongly echo many of Animal Aid's own concerns.

Parrots at the NEC bird fair

The Committee criticised DEFRA's plans to legalise pet fairs by repealing the 1951 Pet Animals Act, which currently prohibits the sale of pet animals in public places. It condemned DEFRA's actions in setting up a Working Group to formulate 'how' pet fairs should be regulated without first asking whether such events 'should' be legalised.

In relation to 'game' bird rearing, the Committee rejected DEFRA's suggestion that the existing Game Farmers Association code of practice be adopted as the statutory guidelines and voiced concerns over current pheasant rearing practices such as beak trimming and burning. The Committee also raised concerns about the large numbers of birds reared and released every year. Animal Aid repeats its call for a ban on the production of birds for 'sport shooting' - in line with Dutch legislation.

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