The first Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Implementation Plan announced

01 September 2015

Article by Candice Boyes, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Photograph of goats running

Image from Pixabay by JamesDeMers, Licensed under the Creative Commons

Background

On 17 July 2015, the Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans, announced the publication of the first Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Implementation Plan, (PDF, 658KB). The Plan sets out the delivery priorities of both the Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group and the Welsh Government for 2015-16.

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Priorities for 2015-16

Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group

The Animal Health and Welfare Group list a number of priorities for this year with a strong focus on improving biosecurity. The Chair of the group Peredur Hughes stated in the Implementation Plan that:

Our main message for 2015/16 is that we put high standards of biosecurity at the core of everything that we do and encourage others to do the same. The Group will be working hard over the coming months to raise awareness and also to ensure that messages are factored into proposals, for example through the Rural Development Plan for Wales. Through good husbandry practices, adoption of high welfare standards and disease prevention measures, we can minimise the likelihood of livestock contracting or spreading disease.

Other priorities outlined by the Group in the Plan include:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance;
  • Bovine Viral Diarrhoea;
  • Engagement with the Welfare Sector (Equine and Companion Animals)
  • Sheep Scab; and
  • Contributing to the Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-20.

Welsh Government

The Welsh Government also lists biosecurity as a key focus for the coming year– particularly in relation to control of bovine TB in Wales.

Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, states in the Welsh Government section of the Plan:

We remain fully committed in our efforts to eradicate bovine TB in Wales. Our approach serves to demonstrate the benefits of partnership working through the TB Eradication Boards and taking forward initiatives such as Cymorth TB. It also illustrates the opportunities for joining up our efforts to help address animal disease in broader terms.

Other priority areas identified include:

  • Bee Health;
  • Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy; (BSE)
  • Contingency Planning;
  • Responsible Dog Ownership;
  • Salmonella;
  • Scrapie;
  • Surveillance 2014;
  • Welfare of animals at time of slaughter; and
  • The Six Day Standstill Project.

Stakeholder Reactions

RSPCA Cymru has welcomed the commitments made in the implementation plan, stating that many of the issues outlined correlate with measures that the organisation has been campaigning for.

RSPCA Cymru’s Claire Lawson said:

We welcome the many commitments that have been laid out in the new Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework plan for 2015/2016.

There are two new areas in the plan that we are pleased to see due to our current activities and campaigning work on these issues.

The commitments to establish a working group and investigate standards at slaughter are particularly welcome given our high profile campaign on ending the practice of non-stunned slaughter. We also welcome work to investigate the role of animal welfare in influencing purchasing decisions given our initiatives on food assurance and campaigns for higher welfare labelling.

It is also very pleasing to see several commitments on dog welfare, given the work that we are currently leading as part of the Review on Responsible Dog Ownership in Wales. We look forward to engaging in further discussions around dog breeding, shock collars and the code of practice for dogs.

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