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Game Birds

Volume 468: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answers of 19 November 2007, Official Report, column 593W, on VAT: game and 10 October 2006, Official Report, column 725W, on game birds, what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the percentage of game birds shot for sport which are (i) consumed by humans and (ii) disposed of by other means; and if he will make a statement. (168407)

I have been asked to reply.

During 2006 and 2007, my Department commissioned research to develop a tool to monitor the harvest of huntable birds and other bird species in the UK using data collected under existing National Gamebag Census (NGC) and Waterfowl Shooting Survey (WSS) schemes for the purposes of monitoring UK bag statistics, in particular for species whose European conservation status is considered unfavourable. The research found that the NGC and WSS have the potential to monitor bags of 21 out of 27 huntable species and has the potential to monitor all 11 pest species. The tool needs further refinement before it could be used to monitor hunting bags.

A report by the Public and Corporate Economic Consultants in 2006 estimated that the total number of gamebirds and wildfowl shot for sport in 2004 was just under 19 million, almost four fifths of these were pheasants and 99 per cent. was destined for the food chain. A small percentage of birds may not pass as fit for human consumption under EU food hygiene regulations which came into force on 1 January 2006.