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Volume 933: debated on Monday 13 June 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what reply he has made to the representations received from" Compassion in World Farming" on the subject of fitting blinkers to pheasants; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has informed this organisation that the regulations prohibiting the fitting of blinkers to birds by a method involving mutilation of the nasal septum apply only to livestock as defined in Part 1 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968—that is, to any creature kept for the production of food, wool, skin or fur or for use in farming the land. In the absence of an interpretation by the courts, we consider it unlikely that pheasants reared solely for sporting purposes would be held to come within that definition. Nevertheless the regulations, even if they did apply, would not prohibit the use of blinkers of the type in use on the game farm in question.