The release of common pheasants and grey partridges for bird dog training – consequences for biodiversity, animal welfare - and health.


Report no:

Publishing: 30.11.2022

Key message:

VKM will assess whether the import, keeping, and release of common pheasants and grey partridges could have negative consequences for birds welfare and contribute to spread disease.

The risk assessment is commisioned by the Norwegian Enivronment Agency and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.


In recent years, a substantial number of hand-reared pheasants and partridges have been released in Norway. The birds are mainly used for training of bird dogs and to carry out hunting dog tests.

Common pheasants (Phasoanus colchicus) is defined as an alien species in Norway. Therefore, a permit from the Norwegian Environment Agency is required to import, farm and release the species.

Grey partridge (Perdix perdix) is considered extinct in the wild in Norway, and is thus also considered an alien species.

Based on the processing of release permit applications in 2021, the Ministry on Climate and Environment concluded that there is a need for more knowledge on the effects of releasing pheasants and partridges on biodiversity and animal welfare.


The Norwegian Environment Agency and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority wish to map out the possible consequences stemming from the import, keeping and release of pheasants and partridges for training of bird dogs. Furthermore, VKM shall identify knowledge gaps and assess possible risk reducing measures.

VKMs report will hence contribute to updated knowledge in regard to processing future permit applications.


The project group consists of:

Eli K. Rueness, the VKM Panel on Alien Organism and Trade in Endangered Species, Chair of the project group

Katrine Eldegard, the VKM Panel on Alien Organism and Trade in Endangered Species,

Andrew Janczak, the VKM Panel on Animal Health and Animal Welfare

Bjørnar Ytrehus, the VKM Panel on Microbial Ecology

Hans Christian Pedersen, external expert

Maria Asmyhr, VKM's secretariat, project manager

Dean Basic, VKM's secretariat, project employee

The risk assessment is scheduled to be published on 30 November 2022..


The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00

P.O. Box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

Webmaster: Tanya S. Kristiansen
Senior Editor: Ingrid M. Høie