After discussing the issue at a meeting in Whitehall with BASC, Defra Minister Lord Rooker said that the GB poultry register should only be used for the purpose of fighting disease.
He told BASC representatives that he would be advising Secretary of State Hilary Benn that the register should not be used for any commercial purpose or for the use of HM Revenue and Customs. The consultation had been designed to secure an evidence base for Defra policy on the register.
The GB Poultry Register was created in 2005 with the purpose of helping Defra to fight Avian Influenza. At the time Defra gave assurances that the register would only be used for this purpose and on that basis BASC recommended that those keeping and rearing quarry species such as pheasant, partridge and duck should register.
In November 2007 Defra issued a consultation "on possible changes of use of personal data held on the GB Poultry Register." Among other things the consultation sought views on using the data "to facilitate mail shots from commercial companies" and making the register available to HM Revenue and Customs. There has been great concern in the shooting world that Defra might abandon the pledges it gave on the creation of the register. The consultation closed on the 05 February 2008.
BASC director of communications Christopher Graffius, who attended the meeting, said: "BASC is grateful to Lord Rooker for his understanding of the problem and for his useful advice to the Secretary of State. We hope that this will ensure that the GB Poultry Register is only used for the purpose of fighting disease. It’s important to remember that the Government has yet to publish its response to the Consultation but BASC will be working with Defra to ensure that the Register is only used for its original declared purpose; to fight disease."