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Welsh Government publish 5 year animal welfare plan

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A five-year plan which outlines steps towards achieving the ambition of ensuring a good quality of life for all animals in Wales will be published today by Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths.

The Welsh Government say that the plan – Our Animal Welfare Plan for Wales – builds on what has already been achieved since the devolution of animal welfare powers in 2006. 

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It outlines how the Welsh Government will take forward its animal welfare commitments in its Programme for Government, and other measures to further improve animal welfare. 

The plan also includes 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. Finally, it 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 Programme for Government commitments captured in the plan are:

  • To develop a national model for the regulation of animal welfare, introducing registration for animal welfare establishments, commercial breeders for pets or for shooting, and animal exhibits;
  • To Improve the qualifications for animal welfare inspectors to raise their professional status;
  • To require CCTV in all slaughterhouses;
  • To restrict the use of cages for farmed animals.

To mark the publication, the Minister will visit Greenmeadow Community Farm near Cwmbran.

Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley 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.

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“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.”

Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop said: “Well cared for animals are more often healthy and contented animals.  Preventing disease and injury in the first place is always the better option.  Having high animal welfare standards ensures their needs are met, whether they are companion animals or farmed livestock.

“The plan we are publishing today builds on what has already been achieved in the field of animal welfare, ensuring we continue to improve as we work towards the ambition of a good quality of life for all animals kept in Wales.”

Partnership working will be key to the success of the plan. A key component relates to the enforcement of current and future legislation and, in support of this, a Local Authority Enforcement Project, working in collaboration with Trading Standards Wales, is currently in its second year.

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Strategic Lead and Trading Standards and Animal Health Manager for Monmouthshire County Council Gareth Walters has welcomed the plan.  He said:  “The Local Authority Enforcement project has recently overseen the appointment of 8 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”.

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Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society launches 2022 Student Bursary Award

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Would you like some extra financial support to assist with your chosen college or career path? Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society’s Student Bursary Award is now open for applications.

The £1,000 bursary is open to all qualifying students studying agriculture, veterinary science, agricultural engineering, food technology, forestry or other subjects clearly allied to agriculture. 

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The bursary is tax free and will be awarded to the student who, in the opinion of a panel of judges, has submitted the best dissertation on how the bursary will assist them to complete their course of study.

The last winner of the award was 21-year-old Gracie Morris, of St. Davids. A former pupil of Ysgol Croesgoch and Ysgol Dewi Sant, Gracie was in her fourth and final year at Harper Adams University studying BSc agriculture with crop management at the time of winning the award.

Gracie said, “It was an honour and a privilege to have been awarded the Pembrokeshire County Show student bursary award in 2019. The bursary enabled me to undertake research towards my final year dissertation on biofumigation to control Rhizoctonia solani in potatoes.”

“The bursary allowed me to be financially secure during my last year of studies. Most of my spare time was spent researching for my dissertation so having a part-time job alongside university was not not possible for me.”

Gracie recommends qualifying students apply for the award.  She said, “I would urge all Pembrokeshire students who study subjects that are clearly aligned to agriculture to apply for this bursary as it won’t only assist with your studies but will also give you great experiences such as undertaking an interview which is a key employment skill. It will also assist in your future career within the agriculture industry.”

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Qualifying students must not have won the student bursary on a previous occasion, the applicant must be studying or has been accepted to study agriculture or allied subjects at a UK college or university at A-Level or higher and the applicants’ family home must be in Pembrokeshire.

Rob James, Chairman of the Society’s Bursary Committee said, “A panel of independent judges, chaired by a representative of the society, will draw up a short list of candidates who will be interviewed and the winning candidate will be asked to give a short presentation at a future meeting of the society’s show council.

“The standard of applications has always been exceptional which gives a lot of heart that there are a lot of very talented young people in our community. We are very much looking forward to receiving applications for this year’s bursary and hearing from the younger generation.”

To enter, students must submit a dissertation of 1,000 words entitled ‘How the bursary will assist my career progression.’

Further details and the entry form can be found on the website: www.pembsshow.org or by calling the show office: 01437 764331. The closing date for applications is Friday, 1 July 2022.

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Tractor queues could lead to penalty points

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A warning for farmers this Easter Bank holiday weekend as police will be on the look-out for long queues disrupting the holiday traffic.

Leading farm vehicle insurance firmQuotezone.co.uk, which compares insurance quotes for farmers, says police forces will be especially aware of the Highway Code’s Rule 169 this weekend, as record crowds could be headed for their country road trip.

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Rule 169 says road users must not create or hold up a long queue of traffic; the rule pays special attention to those driving a large or slow-moving vehicle – potentially making tractor drivers high on the list to gain police attention.

Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, says holding up more than six cars could risk 3-9 points on a driving licence, and a fine of up to £5,000.

He comments: “Traffic jams could be more numerous and longer as holidaymakers avoid foreign trips due to the chaos and cancellation at airports and ports – with the addition of mass rail engineering works ruling out alternative transport closer to home.”

If tractor drivers find they are creating queues, the Highway Code and police forces advise that they pull over, where safe, and allow traffic to overtake, as frustration can lead to dangerous manoeuvres to try and bypass farm vehicles.

The police will also be looking at motorists with caravans, trailers and horse boxes who will need to be conscious of how their driving is affecting other road users. Sensible measures such as checking mirrors, and showing reasonable consideration for other road users should avoid prosecutions.

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Greg Wilson continues: “Farmers are incredibly busy and it’s not always possible to pull over but it’s really important to be as safe as possible on the roads and also safeguard finances. 

“Penalty points could see insurance premiums increase by as much as 25% for 6 points – given tractor insurance can be rather expensive, it isn’t worth the financial risk or potentially losing a driving licence if the new penalties push total points to more than 12.”  

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Farming union hits out over Welsh and UK Government’s lack of engagement on Ukraine supply chain crisis

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The Farmers’ Union of Wales has, for a second time, written to the Welsh Government urging them to instigate actions within their control to alleviate some of the pressures of the Ukraine war on Welsh farmers and consumers.

In response to the initial letter sent to the Welsh Government on 4th March 2022, in which the Union requested a roundtable meeting with them and other stakeholders to discuss such issues and possible actions, the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd stated that the Welsh Government did not believe such a meeting was appropriate.

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FUW President, Glyn Roberts
(Image: FUW)

In his letter of reply, FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We are acutely concerned at the failure of both the Welsh and UK Governments to engage with the supply chain early on in order to explore immediate actions that will help mitigate problems that are having an impact now, and will continue to do so for the remainder of the year and at least into 2023.

“Such impacts are affecting and will continue to affect not only farmers, but also consumers, and this is therefore an issue not only for the food and farming industry but also for the Welsh and UK population as a whole.”

Mr Roberts also highlighted the need for the UK Agriculture Market Monitoring Group on which the Welsh Government sits to take a more proactive approach and share information in a more timely manner, stating:

“It is worth noting that the last set of minutes published on the UK Government website relates to a meeting held on 8th February 2022, many weeks before Russia’s attack on Ukraine.”

“I know you will be aware of the impacts being reported across the supply chain, whether in terms of cooking oil, fuel, feed or fertiliser, and predicted shortages, for example of eggs, and we fully appreciate that with regard to many of these there is little if anything that the Welsh Government can do,” wrote Mr Roberts.

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“However, there certainly are actions that can be instigated by the Welsh Government to alleviate some pressures for Welsh farmers which will benefit consumers over the coming months and years, and while these may be limited we believe it is incumbent upon the Welsh Government to act now in order to do what it can to assist farmers, food producers and consumers,” he added.

(Lead image: FUW)

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