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Animal Welfare: Codes of Practice

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) on what basis individuals were invited to be members of the working group drawing up the Code of Practice resulting from the Animal Welfare Act 2006; (165429)

(2) which organisation each member of the working group drawing up the Code of Practice resulting from the Animal Welfare Act 2006 represents;

(3) which bodies or individuals have been commissioned to provide research to assist the Working Group drawing up the code of practice resulting from the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

During the passage of the Animal Welfare Bill, an undertaking was given to produce three codes of practice on companion animals (dogs, cats and primates) and one on the breeding and rearing of game birds. Working groups on all four subjects are now well established.

The hon. Member does not identify which code of practice he is referring to, but those invited on to the working groups have a particular interest or expertise on the subject of the code. They represent relevant interest groups including welfare, specialists in a particular field (such as dog or cat behaviour), industry (where there are implications for that sector) and specialist private interest groups. The meetings are chaired by a DEFRA official.

It is essential that those involved with drawing up codes of practice are able to work constructively with others who may hold differing views.

Only one organisation, The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (formerly The Game Conservancy Trust) has been commissioned by DEFRA to undertake research. The research is in relation to game birds and is studying the effects of the application of bits and spectacles. The results of this work are expected early in 2008 and will assist debate on the use of bits and spectacles as management tools for aggression reduction in game birds.