Plans unveiled for Chesterfield falcon centre - breeding hundreds of birds of prey for export

Plans have been unveiled for a falcon centre in Chesterfield – with the aim of breeding hundreds of birds a year for export.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 2:26 pm

A planning application has been submitted to Chesterfield Council seeking permission for the private falcon breeding centre on land north of Gregory Lane, Brimington.

The scheme includes erection of a natural pairs chamber, the siting of a caravan for use as a site office, an incubator room and camera room, as well as an imprint chamber and quail barn.

An “operational labour report”, submitted alongside the application, says: “While the proposed facility at Gregory Lane is to be a new facility, the applicant has already bred a small number of falcons in the UK, the offspring of these falcons are used for hunting and racing in the Gulf States. The plan is to expand this breeding programme on the new site.

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“It is anticipated the facility will eventually accommodate a breeding stock of 40 falcons which will produce up to 1,000 eggs per year. All of the birds will be exported to Middle East.”

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Scheme to create new jobs

The report says the development, which will be operated around the clock, will create three to four full-time jobs.

The centre aims to export falcons to the Middle East, where falconry is incredibly popular. Here a peregrine falcon lands on a falconer's arm in Dubai.

It says: “The breeding stock on site is made up from pure-bred gyr and peregrine falcons. The facility will specialize in breeding gyrfalcons with a small number of gyr/peregrine-hybrid falcons also being bred for hunting.

“It is the aim to establish a leading centre for the selective breeding of pure bred racing and hunting birds.”

There is strong demand for falcons in the Middle East, where nomads have long used falcons to hunt for food.

In the United Arab Emirates, falconers train their birds, which can cost up to $60,000 each, to race at hundreds of miles an hour in the President's Cup, a national competition with up to $7 million in prize money at stake.

Gyrfalcons, which would be bred at the facility, are the largest of the falcon species.

In October, dozens of endangered falcons, worth an estimated $1 million, were seized from smugglers in Pakistan as demand from the Middle East fuels illegal trafficking in the birds.

The 74 shaheen falcons and a houbara bustard, a bird prized as an aphrodisiac by Arab royalty, were rescued from around the port of Karachi in what officials called an unprecedented operation against an armed gang.

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