LETTER : Ostrich farming is dangerous

Sir: Recent publicity over ostrich farming has highlighted the fact that investors cannot afford to put their heads in the sand.

Ostriches are exotic and essentially wild birds. They are not only dangerous, requiring licensing under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, but are easily frightened and potentially difficult to handle. They are adapted for life wandering the wide open plains of Africa rather than paddocks in lowland Britain.

If this fledgling industry takes off, it raises the possibility of ostriches being farmed intensively and transported over long distances. The American Ostrich Association regards the transport of ostriches as "dangerous and stressful for both man and beast".

The ostrich farming industry has so far failed to come up with an answer to exactly how and where ostriches will be slaughtered humanely in Britain. The only EU-approved slaughterhouse for ostriches is in northern France. Urgent action is needed to halt the farming of these wild birds in Britain before the ostriches are forced to pay the price in suffering.

Philip Lymbery

Campaigns Director

Compassion in World Farming

Petersfield, Hampshire