Ducks: Animal Welfare
Environment Food and Rural Affairs
David Heath (Somerton and Frome, Liberal Democrat)
The Government are committed to improved standards of welfare of all livestock. The welfare of ducks is provided for in the general provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007. DEFRA also has a duck welfare code which keepers are required by law to have access to and be familiar with, which encourages high standards of husbandry.
DEFRA completed a three-year research project in 2007 to assess whether farmed ducks needed bathing water and if so, how it should be provided. The findings of this research were built on, with the RSPCA, academics and the duck industry, to look at how water could be provided to ducks in a commercial setting, whilst being mindful of the risk to biosecurity. DEFRA took an active part in the accompanying RSPCA ‘Higher Duck Welfare Programme' steering group. As a result of this collaborative approach, duck welfare standards have been raised as both the RSPCA's Freedom Foods scheme and the industry's own Duck Assurance Scheme have ensured that their standards reflect the latest research.
DEFRA welcomes the availability of duck meat products reared to a range of standards which meet the law and allow consumers to make their own choice in purchasing.