Shooting Sports - Pheasants and partridges reared to be shot

Many constituents have raised with me their concern about battery cages used to bread pheasants and partridges.

When I was the Environment Secretary in the last Labour Government, we introduced a new code of practice which would have in effect abolished all cages for breeding game birds.  However, that plan was scrapped by the Coalition's new DEFRA Minister, Jim Paice, who introduced a Code that allowed the cages to remain - albeit in their so-called enriched form.

My colleague, the Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle, has said that Labour is committed in the next parliament to reducing animal cruelty on shooting estates, as well as wild animals in circuses, ending the 'ineffective and inhumane' programme of badger culls, reviewing regulations on dog and cat breeding and sales, and leading the fight against global animal cruelty.

Lastly I should point out that I have been a vegetarian since 1972 and I am deeply concerned about animal welfare.

Hilary Benn

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