FAWC's Opinion on Welfare of Farmed Gamebirds

UK - The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) has published its opinion on the Welfare of Farmed Gamebirds, which covers pheasants and partridges.
calendar icon 14 November 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Approximately 40 million gamebirds (30 to 35 million pheasants and 5 to 10 million partridges) are reared and released each year in Great Britain. Gamebirds have traditionally been bred and reared using simple systems of husbandry, though increasingly more intensive methods are used.

Professor Christopher Wathes, Chairman of FAWC, said, "This Opinion aims to advise Government, including the devolved administrations, about contemporary welfare issues facing farmed gamebirds.

"Welfare issues identified during our study of the breeding and rearing processes include:

  • The extent and duration of confinement of semi-wild species, sometimes within systems offering a barren, restricting environment
  • Routine use of management devices, e.g. bits, spectacles and brailles and
  • Management and stockmanship issues, including record keeping, training, Flock Health and Welfare Planning and development of best practice."

"Recommendations are made to Government and others that are intended to improve the welfare of farmed gamebirds. These include:

  • Adoption of Flock Health and Welfare Plans, prepared in conjunction with a veterinary surgeon
  • An end to the use of spectacles, and closer control of other management devices
  • Phasing out of barren cages for pheasants, alongside research into acceptable accommodation
  • Phasing out of barren cages for partridges, particularly for extended periods, alongside research into acceptable accommodation and
  • More research into the adaptive and support needs of birds when released."

"Government is working with industry and others on a Code of Practice for the breeding and rearing of gamebirds and we hope that our conclusions will add to that process," added Professor Wathes.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
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