Today, October 4, is World Animal Day, and animal welfare organisations in Wales have been celebrating their successes.
Hope Rescue, RSPCA Cymru, Greyhound Rescue Wales and the Naturewatch Foundation joined together ahead of today’s global event to celebrate all things animal welfare and what has been achieved in Wales to date.
Held at The Pierhead, Cardiff Bay, the event saw all four organisations look back at what has been achieved in 2022/2023 - along with their hopes for the future of animal welfare in Wales.
The most recent success in Wales has been the Agriculture (Wales) Bill which will see a ban on snares and glue traps in Wales introduced on October 17 - which has been hailed as “momentous” by the RSPCA.
Attendees heard from RSPCA president Chris Packham who kindly sent a video message as he was unfortunately unable to make it in person.
As well as calling the snare and glue trap ban as “fantastic” he said: “Wales has been taking a lead on these sorts of things for some time.
“I remember back in 2010 - first country - Cymru - banning shock collars for dogs. And we’re very excited about the potential forthcoming ban of greyhound racing in Wales.”
The Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, also gave a speech at the event, which was also attended by several Members of Senedd.
Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “It is my goal for Wales to be recognised for its exemplary standards and our Animal Welfare Plan sets out how we will deliver reform for farmed, companion and other kept animals. I’m pleased Wales will be the first of the UK nations to introduce a total ban on the use of snares and glue traps later this month. From the 17 October the use of these cruel and indiscriminate devices will be illegal in Wales.
“I’d like to thank all the organisations here today for their invaluable work and commitment to animal welfare.”
Attendees also heard from CEO of Naturewatch Foundation, Sarah Carr, event sponsor MS for South Wales West Luke Fletcher and RSPCA senior public affairs manager Billie-Jade Thomas.
Event sponsor Luke Fletcher MS said: "As we approach World Animal Day 2023, it's important to recognize the vital role that animals play in our lives and the tremendous efforts of welfare organisations in Wales. Despite navigating significant economic challenges amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis, these organisations have made significant strides in improving animal welfare.
"Their unwavering commitment inspires us all to do better for our animals, and we look forward to working collaboratively to create a more compassionate Wales. Together, we can improve the well-being of animals and create a more caring environment for all."
Stuart McCarthy-Thompson from Hope Rescue said: “World Animal Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements within our sector and the positive impact on animal welfare.
“All of this has come during particularly challenging economic conditions, so it shows the power of partnership working in Wales.”
Sarah Carr, CEO of Naturewatch Foundation and coordinator of World Animal Day, said: “I am absolutely delighted to speak at this wonderful event at the Senedd, celebrating animals. World Animal Day is an opportunity to rally together and speak up for all animals, bringing together millions of animal lovers worldwide!”
Billie-Jade Thomas, RSPCA senior public affairs manager, said: “We are delighted to be part of this wonderful celebration and we’d like to thank everyone who has joined us today.
“A big thank you goes out to our president Chris Packham, who sadly couldn’t be with us today, but it was lovely to hear from him on video.
“We’d also like to thank the Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths MS, for joining us along with Luke Fletcher MS for sponsoring the event.
“Wales is truly a frontrunner when it comes to animal welfare from recently banning snares and glue traps to the historic shock collar ban. We look forward to seeing more change and delivering more for animal welfare in Wales in the years to come.”