A five-year plan to promote high standards of welfare for all animals in Wales has been published by the Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths.
It covers a broad range of ongoing animal welfare policy work, including statutory guidance for existing regulations, licensing of animal exhibits, welfare of animals in transport, and Codes of Practice.
The plan also describes how the Welsh Government will work collaboratively with the other UK governments to further the animal welfare agenda, for example through the forthcoming Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.
The plan outlines a new national model for the regulation of animal welfare; improved qualifications for animal welfare inspectors; a requirement for CCTV to be installed in all slaughterhouses; and restrictions on the use of cages for farmed animals.
A key component of the plan relates to the enforcement of current and future legislation. In support of this, a Local Authority Enforcement Project, working in collaboration with Trading Standards Wales, is currently in its second year.
Strategic Lead and Trading Standards and Animal Health Manager for Monmouthshire County Council, Gareth Walters, said: “The Local Authority Enforcement project has recently overseen the appointment of eight new Animal Licensing Officers. They will offer crucial support required by Local Authority animal health services by providing a shared resource across Wales as a recognised point of expertise. The new officers will enable existing animal health officers to focus on wider animal health and welfare work.
“The forthcoming launch of an online information system may develop into a single point of reference for licence applications in support of the Welsh Government’s ‘National Model’ commitment, while the development of an animal licensing qualification will complement the Animal Health and Welfare professional qualification provided by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute launched earlier this year. These qualifications will provide the foundation which existing and future officers require to ensure knowledge and understanding, alongside access to specialised training where necessary”.
Griffiths said: “I’m very proud of what has already been achieved in Wales in animal welfare. But there is more to do. Our long-term ambition is for every animal in Wales to have a good quality of life. Today’s plan outlines steps towards achieving that ambition.
“We will work with all partners to take forward our commitments. This includes further boosting protection for pets by looking at registration of animal welfare establishments, enhancing the much-valued animal welfare inspection profession through improved qualifications, and looking at how we can minimise the use of cages for farmed animals.
“I’m also pleased to confirm that we will be requiring all slaughterhouses in Wales to have CCTV – while the vast majority already do we will ensure this is the case for all.
“Achieving a good quality of life for all animals is ambitious, but that is what we must aim for.”