HC Deb 15 July 1998 vol 316 cc189-90W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy in respect of the use of plastic blinkers on pheasants; and if he will make a statement. [50213]

Mr. George Howarth

Pheasants are protected by the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which makes it an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any captive or domestic animal. Any person may initiate proceedings under this Act where there is reason to believe that unnecessary suffering has been caused, or may report the matter to the police who will decide whether or not to institute a prosecution.

Pheasants kept on agricultural land for the production of food are further protected by the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary pain or unnecessary distress to any livestock. The Welfare of Livestock (Prohibited Operations) Regulations 1982 made under this Act prohibit the fitting of any appliance which has the object or effect of limiting vision to a bird by a method involving the penetration or other mutilation of the nasal septum, except in an emergency or by a veterinary surgeon when disease or injury is present and proper treatment requires the operation.