Draft Avian Welfare Strategy
The welfare discussion document, Avian Strategy For Hobbyist Livestock and Pet Birds, has been eight months in the making. It was put together by the National Committee for Bird Strategy, a group of eight specialist societies: the British Waterfowl Association, Hawk Board, National Council for Aviculture, National Pigeon Association of Great Britain, Parrot Society UK, Pet Care Trust, Poultry Club of Great Britain and World Pheasant Association.
In its final form it will become 'England 's Health and Welfare Strategy for Birds' - the basis for official best-practice guidelines to be followed by fanciers.
The draft strategy has four main aims:
. To bring all hobbyist birdkeepers together and develop a national strategy program under one umbrella;
. To maintain participation in birdkeeping;
. To raise birdkeeping skills, training and standards; and
. To improve the quality and breeding of birds under hobbyist control.
The document also reviews issues such as medicine needs, bird welfare standards, health surveillance arrangements and companion bird research.
“Avian health and welfare is vital, not just because we owe birds a duty of care as responsible owners and keepers, but because it is fundamental to the long-term future of our ability to keep and breed many species of birds.
For the Strategy to succeed, everyone involved with all aspects of birdkeeping needs to engage with the issues identified in this document and work together in a pragmatic and constructive way to achieve the aims. Without this, the Strategy will fail and a real opportunity will be lost.
This represents a landmark, but it's only the starting point All birdkeeping organisations should try to work together to achieve this vision for the future.”
The committee is now seeking comment on the document from birdkeepers. Committee member Colin O'Hara said: “We want birdkeepers to tell us if they think we've missed something out or whether we've been too ambitious in what we think can be achieved. We want them to comment in general about the aspirations in the document”.
The committee will assess all the comments before making amendments. They aim to submit the strategy next April to the supervising authority the England Implementation Group (EIG).