No assessment of the financial and other effects on zoos of banning the feeding of necrophagous birds with category 1 material has been made. The EU Animal by-products regulation 1774/2002/EC only permits the feeding of category 1 material to endangered or protected species of necrophagous birds and other species living in their natural habitat, for the promotion of biodiversity. However, it does permit member states to authorise the feeding of animal by-products which do not contain specified risk material and other category 1 animal by-products to birds of prey and other carnivorous animals in zoos. The UK exercises this derogation.
The European Council and Parliament are likely to shortly agree amendments to the regulation which, among other things, would allow member states to permit feeding of certain category 1 material to necrophagous birds and other carnivorous animals in zoos. The UK would be looking to take advantage of such a provision and understands that after the amended regulation is agreed, work will commence on laying down implementing rules in Brussels which would permit such feeding while ensuring protection of animal and public health.
A derogation to permit the feeding of fallen stock to necrophagous birds is available to Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal and France as part of approved conservation measures for vultures. This derogation is not available in the UK. We understand that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is content with the existing arrangement of the feeding of category 2 and 3 material (ie butchers’ waste) to wild necrophagous birds and that a derogation to permit the use of ruminant fallen stock as feed material is not, therefore, necessary.