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It is the Authorities intention to adopt this policy following suitable consultation and amendments if necessary to ensure that all fishing clubs that lease pools from the Authority adopt this policy and enforce it through their membership scheme.
Chaired by Lord Medway the enquiry was sponsored by the RSPCA as a result of pressure from its membership to formulate definitive policies towards shooting and angling.
The enquiry comprised a number of leading scientist and two representatives from the fishing and shooting organisations. The terms of reference were “To enquire into practises relating to shooting and angling in the United Kingdom whether for the purpose of control, sport or feed which may involve cruelty, and to make recommendations as may appear appropriate in relation to such practises”
The main findings of the report in respect of fish, was that they are capable of suffering. This merely confirmed what many involved in animal welfare had suspected for some time: that fish feel pain.
As fish are vertebrates they fall into the definition of “animal” it had been argued by the committee of investigation that both recreational and commercial fishing activities contravened the cruelty offence.
Defra said that they felt the Draft Bill would not interfere with normal fishing activities but stated that they intended to include a specific fishing exemption into the actual Bill although an over rider was written into the Bill which does not allow anglers a cart blanche to inflict unnecessary suffering in the pursuit of this activity and as such recommends a code of conduct be developed and adopted.
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