RSPCA welcomes Welsh Government’s voluntary code of practice for animal sanctuaries
RSPCA Cymru has welcomed the Welsh Government’s publication of a voluntary code of practice aimed at sanctuary owners in Wales.
The document contains best practice guidance for the operators of animal welfare establishments, focusing on the issues of animal care as well as staff and volunteer management.
Animal Welfare Network for Wales (AWNW), the sector council for all animals in Wales, drafted the article, which comprises a coalition of organisations including the RSPCA, who chaired a specialist working group to develop the code.
It has been estimated previously that 90 animal sanctuaries operate in Wales but there are no specific rules which presently govern how they function.
Although believing many sanctuaries do “incredible work”, the RSPCA fears a lack of oversight, scrutiny and regulation mean welfare issues can escalate at establishments, with owners at risk of becoming “overburdened”.
David Bowles, head of public affairs at RSPCA, said: “Many animal welfare sanctuaries do incredible work for animals but there’s a real risk that many in this sector become quickly overburdened and stretched by a lack of resources, support and planning.
“Anyone can call themselves a sanctuary in Wales and clearly that needs to change as these are institutions many people in Wales trust and assume will be subject to rigorous checks and oversights.
“Positively, the Welsh Government’s publication of this voluntary code is a huge leap forward and acknowledges that sanctuary owners should be following important animal welfare and business guidelines to ensure their operations are sustainable and protect animals in their care.
“The RSPCA will continue to call for the regulation of all sanctuaries in Wales, ensuring that only those with the skills, knowledge and resources can open these safe havens for animals of all shapes and sizes.
“We also now look forward to now working closely with animal welfare establishments and local authorities to publicise this new code and hope it delivers success in raising standards in all corners of Wales.”
More information on the RSPCA’s campaign for safer sanctuaries can be found online.
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