As cage-ban looks imminent… shooting industry at war with itself over gamebird battery cages

Posted on the 23rd November 2005

Animal Aid welcomes the decision by the leading shooting lobby group to go head-to-head with the main game production body over the question of battery cages for breeding gamebirds.

The British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC) – following evidence presented to it by Animal Aid – has condemned the cages in which egg-laying birds are held for all of their productive lives. The Game Farmers’ Association (GFA), by contrast, insists that the use of these cruel contraptions is legitimate. This week’s statement by BASC makes clear that the two organisations are involved in a very public disagreement.

The issue of battery cages for gamebirds will be dealt with in the new Animal Welfare Bill, which is due for its Second Reading later this month. Animal Aid is confident – given the compelling and shocking evidence on cages that it has produced, together with BASC’s condemnation of the units – that a ban is now likely.

BASC was forced into denouncing battery cages after Animal Aid’s undercover filmed evidence was broadcast on BBC’s Countryfile in November 2004. Following a period in which no evident progress was made, further evidence was presented in a hard-hitting Animal Aid report and DVD – called Assault and Battery – which was released in September 2005. The report named and shamed four of the six barren cage operators in Britain. Three of the four identified by the national campaign group are members of the GFA’s ruling council. The GFA now stands alone in supporting gamebird battery cages.

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

‘As a result of Animal Aid’s evidence on cages, the bird-killing industry is now at war with itself. The shooting lobby has recognised what the game farmers have yet to comprehend – that confining gamebirds in battery cages simply cannot be “sold” to a public that is increasingly sceptical about so-called sport shooting. All rational industry bodies are now calling for a ban on battery cages, and Animal Aid is confident that the Government will prohibit them under the Animal Welfare Bill – which is currently passing through the House of Commons.’

Notes to Editors

  • View the BASC admission that battery cages are unethical and cruel
  • View Assault and Battery
  • The four battery cage operators named and shamed by Animal Aid are:
    1. Bettws Hall Hatcheries, Bettws Hall, Bettws Cedewain, Powys*
    2. Heart of England Farms, Henley Road, Claverdon, Warwick.
    3. Hy-Fly game Hatcheries, Pilling Lane, Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancs*.
    4. Pye Hall Game Farm, Eye, Suffolk*

    *Denotes that the operator is a member of the GFA Executive Council

  • Further information available at the pheasant campaign index
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.
  • For more information, contact Andrew Tyler or Chris Anderson on 01732 364546.

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