Farmers urged to register game birds

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Farmers and landowners who put down more than 50 game birds for a shoot have been warned they must sign up to the Defra poultry register.

Registration with the Animal and Plant Health Agency applies to a wide range of species, including poultry, geese, ducks, pheasants, partridge, quail and guinea fowl.

Anyone failing to comply could face cuts in subsidies from the Rural Payments Agency and referral to the Trading Standards Authority, which can impose fines of up to £5,000.

There could even be a prison sentence of up to three months for serious breaches.

Emma Fairbairn, of Northumberland chartered surveyors YoungsRPS, said: “Most farmers who keep poultry will be aware of the need to register, but few seem to have appreciated that the rules also apply to game birds, even when kept in an outdoor pen and only for a few weeks of the year.

“Whether it’s a family shoot with no let days, or where a farmer or landowner lets the shooting, you must register.”