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RSPCA spotlight on animal welfare

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Snapshot: The Animal Welfare and Food Indicators reports on some of the most important farm animal welfare issues

THE MAJORITY of consumers think that the welfare standards of animals reared for food is important in their purchasing decisions, a new report from RSPCA Cymru has highlighted. RSPCA Cymru has brought together for the first time a collection of indicators that provide an insight into the welfare issues surrounding animals that are reared for food in Wales.

The Animal Welfare and Food Indicators report provides a snapshot of some of the most important farm animal welfare issues, including food labelling, non-stun slaughter, public sector procurement and live transport. The report intends not only to benchmark and demonstrate ‘where we are’ with animal welfare in food production in Wales, but also makes a series of recommendations with the aim of improving the lives of farm animals in Wales. In recent years, it is clear there has been growing concern in society regarding the treatment of animals in our food chain.

New polling from RSPCA Cymru found that a massive 80 percent of Welsh adults said the welfare standards of the animals reared is important in their purchasing decisions. Of those polled, 74% recognised at least one of the four main labelling schemes in Wales which self-define as providing higher welfare food, including the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme. RSPCA Cymru Head of External Affairs, Claire Lawson, said: “Increasingly, consumers want detailed information concerning how their food was produced.

Many people in Wales consciously seek to tailor their shopping habits with the aim of buying higher welfare products. Better labelling, however, is vital to ensure people have the information they need to make an informed choice, and can purchase food that meets higher welfare standards. RSPCA Cymru believes ‘Method of Production’ labelling should be introduced for all meat and dairy products.

This would place an emphasis on retailers to stock produce desired by their consumers.” The report calls for an end to nonstun slaughter and more than 2,300 people have already signed the charity’s petition in Wales, backed by the British Veterinary Association, urging an end to it. Current law in Wales requires animals to be stunned before slaughter, but exemptions exist for certain communities.

Expert opinion outlines how non-stun slaughter compromises animal welfare, and RSPCA Cymru believes the Welsh Government should therefore end existing exemptions. The charity also believes that the Welsh Government should introduce a requirement for all abattoirs in Wales to implement CCTV systems, to provide assurance and protect animals and staff.

As of 2011, there were 23 abattoirs operating in Wales. According to the Food Standards Agency, only 17 percent of these had CCTV in the stunning or bleeding areas. According to RSPCA Cymru’s poll, a massive 82 percent of the public in Wales support the introduction of CCTV in all slaughterhouses, and 80 percent of those polled support an end to non-stun slaughter, with 59% strongly in favour of this move.

RSPCA Cymru also recommends that the collective aim for the Welsh Government, producers, campaigners and the public should be to keep all live transportation to a minimum and, indeed, to cease all long-distance transport of live animals in favour of a ‘carcase-only’ trade. The report also explores the issue of public sector procurement and recommends that the Welsh Government should seek to mirror the National Assembly for Wales, which in September 2010 switched its procurement of egg and salmon products wholly to Freedom Food approved sources.

Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, said: “I welcome the publication of this new report from RSPCA Cymru, and am grateful for the work that they do alongside our farming communities, local authorities, and others, in the interests of farm animal welfare. The Animal Welfare and Food Indicators report clearly demonstrates that the people of Wales attach great importance to animal welfare standards when purchasing food.

In July, I was delighted to launch the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework which sets out how the Welsh Government, the farming industry, and others, must work to deliver on our vision of continuing and lasting improvements in standards of animal health and welfare for kept animals, while also helping to protect public health and making a contribution to the economy and the environment. I look forward to continuing to work with the RSPCA and others in the interests of animal welfare in food production.”

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Business

Maintenance plant shutdown planned for Dragon LNG

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DRAGON LNG is scheduled to commence a 26-day planned maintenance shutdown at its Waterston
site from Monday May 17

The 24/7 shutdown will enable Dragon to carry out periodic maintenance and inspection, whilst
taking advantage of the opportunity to carry out some small improvement projects in a safe and controlled manner.

In addition to the normal preparations for a shutdown, which started in February 2020, Dragon
have been working extensively with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council TTP team and UK Government, including the Department for Business, Energy
and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to align already in place COVID controls in preparation for our
additional workforce from 15 key vendors to support a successful event.

During the shutdown, there will be over 140 valve overhauls, approx. 960 COVID-19 LFD | PCR
tests carried out by a specialist company and over 200 virtual site safety inductions (enhanced with
COVID site controls).

With the works taking place within the site process area, any impact to our community, including
noise and dust disturbances is not anticipated. Please do note that flaring will be undertaken
during the shutdown.

A Dragon spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Whilst this is a major event at Dragon, the 1st shutdown since 2011, our top priority always is the safety of our team and community”.

Dragon continues to update its’ community and stakeholders on the progress of the work.

For any enquiries, please contact karen.wood@dragonlng.com / 01646 691730.

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Community

Encouraging responsible dog ownership so everyone enjoys their day at the beach

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is encouraging and promoting responsible dog ownership to ensure that we can all enjoy the County’s glorious beaches this summer.

With Covid-19 restrictions easing and lots of people expected to head to the coast, respecting one another and the natural environment will be more important than ever.

And, as a dog-friendly County, Pembrokeshire will be welcoming many four-legged friends too.

While visiting and enjoying Pembrokeshire beaches, dog lovers are asked to be mindful of some restrictions regarding their pets.

Between 1st May and 30th September dogs are not permitted on the North Beach in Tenby, or Whitesands Beach near St Davids. However, some other beaches have specific dog-free areas Designated.

Other areas indicate where dogs must be kept on leads.

The byelaws are in place so that everyone, dog owners and non-dog owners alike, can enjoy their time at the seaside.

Updated signage detailing the byelaws will be displayed on all beaches, main beach access and exit points, plus signs and flags being displayed and flown by lifeguards.

This will help pet owners to take their pets to the areas of beach designated for their enjoyment.

The signage used will be part of a wider campaign to encourage responsible behaviour while visiting and enjoying Pembrokeshire.

While engaging with members of the public, explaining the byelaws and encouraging responsible behaviour will always be the preference, there has also been a change to how the restrictions will be monitored.

Enforcement Teams will be working alongside the patrols currently undertaken to address littering and dog fouling in our communities.

Where appropriate, Fixed Penalty Notices of £75 can be issued. This can rise up to £500 if the matter were to be successfully prosecuted in court.

It is hoped that by engaging, advising and promoting the byelaws, supported by new signage, the Council can encourage people to be even more responsible dog owners.

This will result in a fun, positive experience for all beach users this Summer.

Pembrokeshire County Council Leader Cllr David Simpson, said: “Pembrokeshire can’t wait to welcome all those who have been dreaming about a walk on the beach throughout much of the past year.

“We know and understand that dogs are part of the family and taking your pets out to the beach for the day or a simple walk at the seaside is so important.

“We hope that by engaging and explaining we can promote responsible dog ownership this summer to ensure everyone can enjoy their time on our incredible coast.

“Please plan your visits and take the time to have a look at the maps of the dog free areas and other information available and we look forward to welcoming everyone, whether two legs or four, once again.”

For more information, see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/dog-control

Maps of the dog free areas and further information can be downloaded at: https://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/downloads

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Community

Speedy Sanna’s second shot at Pembrokeshire Coast Path record

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A DETERMINED Pembrokeshire woman will reattempt to set a new record next week by running the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in the fastest time.

Sanna Duthie, 32, from Milford Haven, is aiming to become only the second person to run the whole of the 186-mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

Sanna attempted to break the record in August last year, but after clocking off more than 63 miles she had to abandon the record attempt for her own safety, due to the horrendous weather conditions.

She hopes to complete her run in under 64 hours and 32 minutes and is using the opportunity to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity. Sanna has already smashed her fundraising target of £2,000 by raising an amazing £2,162.

The current record is held by Haverfordwest’s Richard Simpson, who completed the challenge in 2018.

As an ultra-runner, she has previously completed a 100-mile run in under 28 hours, but she is now hoping to exceed that and raise money for a charity close to her heart at the same time.

Reflecting on how she feels about re-attempting the challenge, Sanna, who likes to run ‘silly races’ said: “I am very nervous but feeling determined and strong. I’ve trained over 300 miles a month since March 2020, so I’ve done all the training I can. I would have liked to have gone to the gym, but I’ve done what I can at home. I’ve been out on difference sections of the coast path since restrictions have eased and it’s in good condition.”

Weather permitting Sanna, who is ‘overwhelmed’ with how much money she has raised, will start the challenge at 8am on Friday, 7 May at St Dogmaels and finishing in Amroth on Sunday, 9 May.

In preparation of the challenge Sanna has received a lot of support from her partner, family and friends, she said: “My dad and partner have been amazing. Making sure I’m fed after long runs and just being there. My friends have been amazing and although we haven’t been able to run together just knowing they support me helps. I’m hoping some can join me on the challenge it will be great to catch up. The chatter will be a great distraction.”

Katie Macro, Wales Air Ambulance South West Wales Community Co-ordinator, said: “We’re so grateful to Sanna for taking on this huge challenge once again. Her determination is outstanding, and she has so far raised an amazing amount for our lifesaving charity.

“Despite the horrendous weather during her last attempt she managed to run over 63 miles and only stopped the record attempt when it became unsafe to continue. Her determination is inspiring.

“On its own, it is a significant personal challenge, and we will be supporting her all the way to the finish line – and hopefully to a new record. For Sanna to choose to raise money for our lifesaving service at the same time is incredible. We are so grateful for her support and we’d like to wish her all the best. Thank you to everyone who has supported Sanna and continue to support her with her fundraiser.”

You can show your support to Sanna by donating to her Just Giving page – Sanna’s 186 miles – Pembrokeshire Coastpathhttps://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sanna-duthie2.

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