The rules on exporting shot game in feather are changing.
Once Britain has left the European Union you can no longer sell birds in-feather direct to buyers from Europe. From 1st January 2021 game birds in-feather cannot be exported to Europe without certification by an Official Veterinarian, and must be exported through an Approved Game Handling Establishment, just like processed game meat.
What do you need to do?
If you are currently exporting birds in-feather directly to Europe, you will need to make contact with a game processor to make alternative arrangements. You can find a list of British Game Alliance registered processors here, or contact the BGA office for help identifying a processor.
Note, not all processors are Approved Game Handling Establishments, but the BGA has been working to open new domestic markets for game and you may find a processor who wants to take your birds to supply the major supermarkets who are now taking more game than ever, or to supply one of the many BGA registered restaurants, pub and hotel chains, online retailers and small shops.
If, however, your birds are to continue to go overseas they will need to be processed by an Approved Game Handling Establishment, and will be subject to new requirements relating to refrigeration, the presence of a ‘Trained Person’ on the shoot, and separation of game according to the day it was shot. If your game dealer wishes to export your shot game, they can advise you on the procedures they will need you to follow.
When do I need to act?
Communication throughout Brexit, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, is vital. If your shot game currently goes overseas in the feather then Defra, the Countryside Alliance and the British Game Alliance strongly recommend that you begin the process of identifying a game dealer or processor right now.
Defra have provided the attached note, which provides more detail on the changes. Please contact James Legge at the Countryside Alliance or Louisa North at the British Game Alliance for guidance, or speak to the BGA for assistance with locating a BGA registered game processor.
To read the Defra guidance you can do so here.