RSPCA: More progress needed on Animal Welfare Plan to safeguard animals across Wales
RSPCA Cymru is urging the Welsh Government to further progress its Animal Welfare Plan for Wales – which today marks its one-year anniversary.
The Animal Welfare Plan for Wales – which was launched last November – includes ten goals to improve the welfare of animals, including pets and livestock.
Progress has occurred on five of these including the introduction of mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses in Wales, which was announced this week.
This development was welcomed by RSPCA Cymru following its long-running campaign.
If this proposal comes into law it will follow legislation being introduced in England by the UK Government back in 2018.
The Welsh Government has also made progress on animal welfare issues not specifically mentioned in the Plan.
Most recently in September, RSPCA Cymru welcomed the publication of the Welsh Government’s Agriculture (Wales) Bill – which will introduce a ban on the use of snares and glue traps in Wales, following a long campaign by the charity.
The Bill will also pave the way for a new Sustainable Farming Scheme, which will provide the primary source of funding for farmers in post-Brexit Wales – and, after an RSPCA campaign, looks set to incentivise farmers delivering the highest standards of welfare.
However no progress has occurred on four issues including restrictions on the use of cages in farming and the licensing of sanctuaries and rescues.
The RSPCA is concerned that without such a system more sanctuaries will face closure due to the cost of living.
RSPCA’s head of public affairs David Bowles said: “As we mark the first year of the Welsh Government’s Animal Welfare Plan we are pleased to see progress occurring on half of the Government goals set out last year.”
“However we are concerned that no action has yet occurred on introducing licensing and a system of standards for rescues and sanctuaries and we fear that without such a system many sanctuaries face a cost of living crisis and could close, leaving the RSPCA to pick up the pieces.”
“Though not in the Plan specifically, we are delighted that Wales is pressing ahead with plans to ban snares and glue traps.”
“It is also great news that the consultation on the introduction of mandatory CCTV in all slaughterhouses was launched this week – so we have seen progress over the last 12 months.”
“We’re proud of our campaigning efforts in recent years to help make this a reality. Both will be important pieces of legislation that will help to improve and safeguard the welfare of animals across Wales.”
“We would like to see a clear timetable to introduce licensing in new areas such as cat breeding establishments and professional dog walkers. This will play a key role in securing consistent welfare standards and will offer vital reassurances to the public.
“We would also like to see progress on other commitments such as improving the qualifications for animal welfare officers.”
“This will be vital to improve enforcement of the new laws that the Government has in their Animal Welfare Plan and ensure that the standards can be implemented on the ground.”
“The plan also seeks collaboration with the UK Government in regards to the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, however this Bill has stalled at Westminster for a long time.”
“We hope the Welsh Government can be a strong voice in urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to revive this legislation, as – should the Senedd grant legislative consent – it is set to have a huge impact in Wales too in areas such as reducing incidents of sheep worrying and stopping the private keeping of primates.”
“As 2023 approaches we look forward to continuing to campaign with our supporters on issues included in our ‘Issues for the Welsh Parliament 2021-2026‘ manifesto, many of which – very positively – also later appeared in this Animal Welfare Plan.“
RSPCA Cymru – along with Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales – has also recently launched a new campaign, #CutTheChase, to call for an end to greyhound racing in Wales.
David added: “We also hope the Welsh Government go beyond their Animal Welfare Plan and look at phasing out greyhound racing in Wales.
“We need everyone who cares about greyhound welfare to tell their Members of the Senedd how important this issue is to them. We hope every voice will be heard.”
To take the RSPCA’s campaign action please visit www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/
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