The requirement for inspection of premises holding birds of prey for commercial breeding, or for the training of birds of prey for ‘exhibition’ is not in itself a bad thing as this should lead to improved welfare for raptors. However, the lack of consultation by Government with the bird of prey community and important decisions being made without the input of knowledgeable bird of prey professionals has led to a set of regulations that are not fit for purpose.
Sadly the Hawk Board (the UK’s official voice of the bird of prey community) was completely side-lined during the consultation process and was not invited to take part in the drafting of the new regulations. This has led to much criticism of DEFRA the UK government body responsible.
The new rules come into force on October 1st 2018. (March 2019 for existing holders of Performing Animals Licences’).
In response to an overwhelming vote in favour at The National Conference of bird of prey professionals, Raptor Awards CIC is currently developing document packs, guidance material and other training material to help those bird of prey keepers affected by the new regulations to make the transition to the new regime as painless as possible.