Code of Practice

Welfare Without Compromise

It requires very little knowledge to care passionately about animals. It requires a great deal of understanding to care properly for them.
John Webster, Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol

The Bird Control Company management recognises that there are hazards in living things, materials and physical processes, and will assess risks and take action to reduce threats to hawks, staff, clients and others.

Our hawks are extremely important to us, and The Bird Control Company is committed to providing a quality service to clients, while ensuring that the wellbeing of our hawks is of prime importance.  The following Code of Practice, to which all company operatives adhere, encapsulates company policy with relation to the use of hawks in our work.

As the underpinning husbandry and welfare principles for our hawks, we have adopted “THE FIVE FREEDOMS”, formulated by John Webster (Professor of Animal Husbandry at Bristol University); these principles are internationally accepted as best husbandry practice, viz:

  1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst - by ready access to fresh water, and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  2. Freedom from Discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease - by prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
  5. Freedom from Fear and Distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Full and proper records of each Company hawk are kept and maintained by management.

In addition, Company hawks are:

  • Bred in captivity and cared for to the highest standards of welfare, placing the hawks’ needs above those of the business.
  • Properly trained and “manned” (habituated).
  • Housed in clean accommodation, with access to water and shelter.
  • Flown on a daily basis for their fitness, health and general wellbeing.
  • Properly housed, fed, equipped and trained.
  • Transported in suitable caging.
  • Given veterinary treatment and/or vaccinations, as necessary
  • Marked with a unique identification mark (closed ring, micro-chip etc.) to facilitate the identification of each hawk, and thus its restoration to us in the event of its loss.
  • Registered with the Independent Bird Register (IBR), to help facilitate the return of any lost hawk.
  • Flown with equipment which will not endanger the hawk’s survival in the wild, and telemetry (radio tracking) is used whenever a hawk is flown, to aid in its recovery in the event of its loss.
  • Licensed where appropriate, and we hold Article 10 certificates for all hawks thus covered.
  • Kept and used in accordance with all current UK, EU and international legislation and best practice.

Company operatives will;

  • Adhere strictly to all UK and EC Transport of Animals orders.
  • Ensure adequate temperature regulation throughout the transport of the hawks.

Company management and staff will;

  • Make every endeavour to recover a lost hawk, and to cure a sick or injured hawk belonging to the company.
  • Take all necessary precautions and actions to ensure that our hawks are fit and healthy.
  • Adhere strictly to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidelines and practices.