BPC to take control of animal welfare regulations for poultry industry
Following conservative ministers plan to repeal official guidance on animal welfare standards, the British Poultry Council (BPC) is to gain control of animal welfare regulations in the poultry industry.
The guidance will be published on 27th April after it has been through the parliamentary process, revoking the statutory code.
In a statement Defra said: “No changes are being made to farm animal welfare legislation or the strict enforcement and penalties that apply. Instead, the British Poultry Council has produced new non-statutory guidance on how to comply with the legislation.
“The industry-led guidance can also be used as evidence in court to prove criminal liability and will ensure farmers have the most up-to-date and practical information.”
The BPC commented: “Without this change in Defra policy a large number of statutory codes would never be reviewed. Many of these codes are outdated and Defra does not have the resource to review all of the codes. The chicken guidance has been reviewed using a significant amount of resource from the industry.
“We were determined to ensure that we protected the integrity of the code. It was critical for the BPC to achieve the endorsement from Defra to ensure its credibility and acceptance by charities, retailers and the industry itself. A robust review procedure will be put in place to ensure that the requirements in the code are kept up to date with any new legislation and research.”
The BPC also plans to review and update the duck and turkey codes in 2017.
BPC chairman John Reed said: “This move towards expert-led guidance will ensure that welfare is, and will continue to be, paramount in livestock production. The law and enforcement remain Defra’s responsibility, and this code does not change the underlying legislation.
“We have strengthened and updated the code using scientific evidence,” Reed continued. “As always, we will continue to work with Defra and other stakeholders to keep this under review as knowledge and understanding of welfare develops.”