HOW CONCERNED SHOULD fanciers be about the Scottish Government’s plan to revamp its animal welfare law? Donald Skinner-Reid gives his reaction to this ongoing consultation on page 10 and singles out some proposals that we may find sinister, notably (1) the outsourcing of animal welfare enforcement to the charitable sector, and (2) the abolition of upper limits for sentencing.

When I filled in the consultation form, what struck me with weary familiarity was the total lack of acknowledgement for hobbyist birdkeepers. We’re invited to tick a box to say how we are best described, but there’s nothing in between straight “member of the public” (which could be any ignoramus) and “animal breeder/dealer” (which makes it sound as though our interest is mainly commercial). There IS a box marked “Other” and I’d urge fanciers to make use of this when completing the form. Put “breeder of exhibition birds – hobbyist, not commercial or pet sector” or similar: that will at least declare that there are people in Scotland who are intensely interested in livestock but who are not included in the government’s thinking. You’ve got another three weeks to make your voice heard.

■ Mr Brady’s letter last week (see Graham Wellstead’s response, left) made a telling point: if the small fraction of birdkeepers who break the law and trap wild birds should not stigmatise the hobby of birdkeeping, the same applies to raptorkilling gamekeepers and the profession of gamekeeping. So what is the true percentage of bad apples in either case? We could argue all day, but the way forward is the same: root out the bad guys and there won’t be any mud left to stick to the good guys.

■ Thank you to all readers who have sent best wishes to the C&AB team after our recent move from Kent to Peterborough. Your goodwill is hugely appreciated. And just another reminder – if you are writing to us, please use our new address: Cage & Aviary Birds, Kelsey Media, Regent House, Welbeck Way, Peterborough, Cambs PE2 7WH. Thanks again!

■ Seen the Lizard canary cake that the Southern Lizard CC had for its birthday (pic on page 22)? Spangles and rowings exemplary, I’d say! If your club can boast anything similar, send us a photo. Have a great week with your birds… and maybe a slice of cake, too.


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