Following this morning’s blog…
I also asked:
2. What are the economic costs of road traffic accidents caused by Pheasants?
and here is Defra’s reply:
‘2. Defra does not currently hold information relating to the economic costs of road traffic accidents caused by pheasants or red-legged partridge and is not aware that such information is recorded by government.’
Fair enough. But that, of course, is not to say that there are no accidents and there is no cost. So how, again, did Defra decide to say that ‘The overall environmental and economic impact of game bird shooting is therefore a positive one…’. So that includes the road accidents that haven’t been costed or included does it? Obviously not. How much would you assess a single road fatality to be ‘worth’ in economic terms? No, it’s not a very tasteful question but it clearly is relevant to assessing the costs and benefits of releasing 45 million pheasants into the UK each year given that such accidents do occur and simple damaging road accidents are quite common (see here, here, here).
and I asked:
3. How many Pheasant poults are imported into England each year from the continent and what regulations govern their transport? What are the implications of importing live pheasant poults for the transmission of avian diseases into the UK?
Defra’s response sets out the following figures for the UK:
Alectoris [ie red-legged partridges, but could include some other species too](from EU): 1,872,948
Phasianus [ie pheasants](from EU): 5,075,125
Phasianus (from outside EU): 12,600
Galliformes [ie not recorded which gamebird it was](from EU): 989,134
Galliformes (from outside EU): 6,331
With regard to the implications of importing live pheasant poults for the transmission of avian diseases into the UK, the avian notifiable diseases are avian influenza caused by H5 or H7 virus subtypes and Newcastle Disease (ND)(infection with highly virulent paramyxovirus). Pheasants are not generally considered a risk of transmission of avian influenza: these viruses are usually found in wildfowl and it is contact with wild or farmed ducks, geese etc that is high risk. However, pheasants and other game birds can carry paramyxovirus, which may be highly virulent and therefore lead to outbreaks of ND. This has happened before in 2006 in Scotland in grey partridges and in 2005 in England in pheasants. However, vaccination against ND is available for poultry and gamebirds.’
Nigh on eight million birds are imported into the UK each year for shooting. That’s a lot isn’t it? Did you realise that? I didn’t – the figure quite surprised me.
I wonder what the carbon, welfare and disease implications of all that are?
Eight million! Did you know that?