Bob Partridge, President
Alan Robinson, General Secretary
Staff present at the meeting 2 in person 2 via phone link
1. Update on legislative changes and approximate timescales – Defra JT
DEFRA stated that there should be more meetings to discuss any relevant items required under the bird policy.
DEFRA reported that the EU had returned the proposed changes to WLCA regarding the removal of documentary evidence of captive breeding for birds bred in other EU member states and imported into this country. That includes all schedule 3 part 1 birds and all non schedule 3 part 1 birds, but if you wish to sell these birds you are still required to obtain a license from NE because they are not rung with either IOA or BBC rings. This was agreed on the 1st March 2017 and will be put forward to parliament in May 2017.
2. Northern/Siberian Bullfinches and Goldfinches (BBC & IOA)
Both the IOA and the BBC have proposed that the Siberian Bullfinch and Goldfinch should have their ring sizes increased from a C to a D for the Siberian Goldfinch and a D to an E for the Siberian Bullfinch.
DEFRA/NE agreed that there was a welfare issue with regards to the size of rings for Siberian Bullfinches/Goldfinches. The IOA argued that these birds should be placed on a General License. NE stated that they would prefer to place these birds on a Class License which would result in the individual applying for the licenses being required to give up their details which would include there name and address. The IOA stated that under the FOI (Freedom of Information Act) Individual may be able to obtain this information which may results in the theft of the applicants’ birds. NE stated that they could not guarantee that the information would not fall into the wrong hands.
The IOA stated that there had been no evidence put forward before or during the meeting to justify the birds being placed on a class license. DEFRA ask NE to look into this matter.
NE/DEFRA asked for further photographic evidence that Siberian Bullfinches/Goldfinches were suffering through welfare issues because of the smaller C & D rings IOA to report back to DEFRA/NE. They also requested that the IOA should if possible provide evidence of the number of rings sold for the Siberian Bullfinch/Goldfinch and Mealy Redpoll. It was stated that this class license was for both the selling and exhibition of the 3 stated birds. It was felt by both the IOA and BBC that individual breeders would be reluctant to complete this paper work which would be seen as an additional bureaucratic burden to the fancy. The IOA requested that NE should provide evidence of prosecutions relating to the use of oversized rings on any European birds. NE to investigate.
3. Closed rings: (IOA requested to discuss the following)
The IOA are extremely disappointed that the above items were not adopted by DEFRA/NE accept for the last item that is currently in the constitution that all birds should be closed rung.
4. European species list recommended ring sizes (BBC/IOA)
The IOA along with the BBC produced a list of ring sizes for approximately 250 birds (2012 first put forward DEFRA) to be placed on the existing schedule 3 part 1 of the WLCA. NE stated that they would look at producing a document that could ensure that all European birds in the UK would be rung with either an IOA or BBC ring. Selling and showing of these birds to be discussed at a later date. All non schedule birds would then be rung with either an IOA or BBC ring no other ring to be accepted.
5. Colour variants – ringing exemption.
The BBC had requested that all colour mutation should be exempted from closed ringing. The IOA stated that as part of its constitution they could not accept this proposal as the constitution stated that all birds should be closed rung. The IOA also stated that the none ringing of colour mutations would not provide any protection for the breeder against theft of his stock as identification of stolen birds would be extremely difficult to prove in a court of law. Also, the ringing of the colour mutation birds with a year stated on the ring would help the purchaser in identifying the age of the bird/birds before purchase. NE agreed and also stated that colour mutations could still be taken from the wild and also that it would be difficult to draft a legal document providing an exact description of what a colour mutation is.
6. Redpoll taxonomic clarification.
Both DEFRA and NE stated that the Common Redpoll as now returned to its previous name of the Lesser Redpoll which is now classed as a “Red Data bird” and therefore required protection via the use of a class license for the Mealy Redpoll which is currently on a General license. This was to protect the Lesser Redpolls being fitted with the size C ring and being sold illegally.
The IOA asked when the Lesser Redpoll was given the status as a “Red Data” bird. NE stated that this was in 2009. The IOA asked why this bird had not being protected by using a Class License at the time that the Lesser Redpoll was placed on the Red Data list. NE stated that they had been slow in implementing the class license for the Mealy Redpoll to give protection to the Lesser Redpoll.
Meeting closed at 2:00pm