The British Poultry Council (BPC) has voiced its disappointment at the government’s reversal of its earlier decision to move towards jointly-owned welfare guidance.
“We’re disappointed by the change of policy at Defra,” said BPC chairman, John Reed. “What this means now is that we, along with other livestock sectors, will be left with outdated welfare guidance.”
The BPC added that it had been involved in the industry-led codes debate since 2012, following the recommendation from the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England (AHWBE) and the MacDonald task force that government should consider moving towards industry-led guidance, due to the number of outdated statutory welfare codes requiring an update.
“Organisations have speculated on what information the guidance might contain, with claims that the livestock industry would become self-regulating,” said BPC. “This was never the case.
“The law and enforcement of animal welfare regulations were always going to remain with Defra. What the policy meant, was that the welfare guidance, supporting the legislation, would have been jointly-owned by industry and government to ensure that they were kept up to date with legislation, industry practice and research.”
Mr Reed added: “We supported the move towards jointly-owned guidance and we have contributed a significant amount of resource to this piece of work and are frustrated that it has been repealed before we were able to publish the content. By revoking its decision, Defra is walking away from an opportunity to ensure welfare guidance is kept up to date with the latest research using industry expertise.”