Lobby your MP to oppose moves to overturn the ban on game bird battery cages

Posted on the 7th June 2010

One of the first decisions by the new Hunting and Shooting Minister, Jim Paice, has been to withdraw a new Code of Practice for ‘game bird’ production (made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006). The effect of this decision will be to overturn a ban on battery cages for breeding pheasants.

The Code, issued in the final weeks of the Labour Government, was the product of years of evidence-gathering and public consultation. A battery cage ban even had the support of Britain’s leading pro-shooting lobby group, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. BASC came out publicly against the oppressive contraptions after they were first exposed, via national television, by Animal Aid, in November 2004. We have campaigned unrelentingly for them to be outlawed ever since.

Hundreds of thousands of pheasants and partridges are incarcerated for the whole of their productive lives (around two years) in battery cages. Pheasants are confined in groups of around eight females and one male. Our covert filming revealed that the birds suffer a high incidence of emaciation, feather-loss and back and head wounds. Many of the pheasants lunge repeatedly at their cage roofs in a forlorn attempt to escape. The resulting damage to their heads is known as ‘scalping’.

The Code of Practice also outlawed so-called enriched cages. Animal Aid has several times filmed the ‘enriched’ version and we can report that they are just as bleak and oppressive.

Mr Paice has instructed the Working Group that drew up the Code to reconsider the battery cage and other game bird production issues. Its first meeting was scheduled to be held on 7 June 2010.

Animal Aid wrote to every MP in advance of that meeting asking them to register their opposition to any move that would legitimise the cages. We also sent them a copy of our new booklet, ‘The Trouble With Shooting’.

Please write to your MP and ask that they support a ban on battery (or ‘raised laying’) cages for game birds.

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