Sir – I really do need to correct some serious inaccuracies in Jon Burgess’ letter (Worcester News, October 25) on the breeding and rearing of game birds.

The number of farms using the raised cage system for breeding birds (ie, birds used for breeding rather than birds who are being reared and released) is relatively small, but due to the scale of these operations, which mass-produce young birds for the shooting industry, Defra said that “collectively they are responsible for a sizeable proportion of the young birds raised”.

Typically, under the cage system, about eight females and one male pheasant are kept in the wire mesh units.

Partridges are kept in pairs in a type of metal box. The contraptions were the focus of a Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) report, which was used as evidence for a Defra consultation on the welfare of game birds.

Of particular concern to FAWC was that breeding pairs of partridges may be confined in metal boxes continuously for up to three seasons.

Sadly, under the current government, the cages for the breeding birds have been permitted to remain – albeit in their so-called enriched form – despite widespread criticism from the public, animal welfare organisations and even the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.

Fiona Pereira
Animal Aid