Letter to your MP regarding the APHA proposal to register ALL bird keepers except a single bird in an indoor cage.
The proposal is to have all bird keepers registered except in a domestic dwelling. The below letter is a template to use courtesy of Cage and Aviary Birds magazine editor. There is also a consultation questionnaire at the .gov website. I would strongly urge you to action both and let your views be known, otherwise we will all be tied up in 'red tape'.
Publicity and website.
I’m writing as one of your constituents who’s worried about DEFRA’s new ‘Consultation on proposed registration requirements for all bird keepers in Great Britain’. This consultation runs from March 7 to May 31 2023.
DEFRA wants to introduce a new national registration scheme for everyone who keeps any birds, except for keepers of ‘pet birds’. It would be a major expansion of the current register, which is compulsory for all those who keep 50 or more poultry. Those who register would also have to update their information every year.
I have two main points of concern.
1 The scheme would constitute a huge new exercise in bureaucratic red tape. There are thousands and thousands of Britons who would be needlessly dragged in under the revised definition. An obvious example is the large community of people who breed exhibition birds such as pedigree canaries, budgies and finches as a classic British hobby, conducted not for commercial gain but for the love of birds and friendly competition.
Many of those hobbyists are aged 65+ and, inevitably, their take-up of an online process would be limited. As an exercise, the hugely increased registration would be inefficient, with low-cost benefit.
2 ‘Pet birds within a domestic dwelling’ would be exempt from registration, says DEFRA. That’s because such birds live ‘indoors’ and so won’t contract bird flu.
Exactly the same is true of exhibition birds. A huge majority are housed in a fully enclosed bird rooms purpose-built or a converted garden shed which is securely designed to prevent the occupants from mingling with the environment (i.e., escaping!) Effectively, these ARE ‘domestic dwellings.
Thousands of people maintain bird rooms. They pose a negligible disease risk. But you will understand my worry that a definition about pet birds in a domestic dwelling might drag numerous people on to the wrong side of the law pointlessly and with no benefit in controlling bird flu.
The Conservative government presents itself as a government of deregulation. The British electorate is fed up with the mass of fresh legal restrictions that the covid years poured on to us. They expect the government to deliver on its promise to cut red tape not to increase it.
I believe that ‘bureaucracy creep’ is indeed abhorrent to most real politicians. Let’s face it, it’s civil servants who have come up with this plan, which if implemented would generate work for them and help to justify their existence.
That workforce and public money would be far more effectively employed on other projects.
I urge you and your fellow MPs, who actually understand your electorate as people, to make sure that this bureaucratic escalation is prevented.
With best wishes,