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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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Community

Public urged to take part in Council budget consultation

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MEMBERS of the public are being urged to participate in Pembrokeshire County Council’s budget consultation 2022-23.

Launched this week, the consultation asks the public where they think the Council needs to spend money, and where it can save it.

As part of the process, the Council has created an online budget simulator, which includes videos from Cabinet members talking about the financial pressure in their portfolio areas.
Cllr Bob Kilmister, Cabinet Member for Finance, encouraged all those interested in how the Council spends its funds to take part in the consultation.

“It’s very important that we hear from as many people in Pembrokeshire as possible,” he said.

“Like other Councils, we are once again facing significant budget pressures and understanding community and household priorities is vital in helping us to make the difficult choices necessary in setting the 2023-23 budget.

“We look forward to hearing from you.”

How to take part in the consultation:

Teams Live Stream event
Join a Teams Live Stream event on Wednesday 1st December from 7pm – 8pm. Put your budget questions directly to Cllr Kilmister or the Council’s Director of Resources, Jon Haswell, or listen to the discussion. Questions are welcomed in English and Welsh.

Budget Simulator
Give your views on the budget priorities for 2022–23 by using our Budget Simulator which is available at https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/

Download the survey and return to County Hall
Alternatively you can download and complete our hard copy Information and Response Form. Once complete please return to surveys@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or Pembrokeshire County Council, Policy & Partnerships, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP.

The consultation will end on Wednesday 5th January 2022.

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Community

Milford Haven Council cancels annual Christmas lights switch-on event

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Council cancels Christmas lights

MILFORD Haven Town Council have announced that they will be cancelling the official switching on the Christmas lights event this year.  

The Christmas lights in Milford Haven will be turned on Wednesday, December 1 at 7pm. However, unlike previous years, this will not be an official event. 

In the past, the event would see Father Christmas switching the lights on while on a balcony at the Town Hall. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the official turning on of the lights is unable to go ahead.

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Community

County Hall to be lit up in orange as part of UN campaign

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COUNTY HALL is being lit up in orange tonight (Thursday, 25 November) to highlight the United Nations campaign against gender violence #OrangeTheWorld: End Violence Against Women Now!

The UN is holding 16 days of activism against gender-based violence from 25th November to 10th December 2021 under the global theme set by the UN Secretary General’s UNiTE campaign.

Among the local groups supporting the worldwide campaign are Soroptimists International Haverfordwest which requested the illumination. “This is a campaign that, as a women’s group, we feel it very important to support,” said member Susie Blacklaw-Jones.

Council Leader Cllr David Simpson supported their request, saying: “This is an incredibly important issue and we are grateful to Soroptimist International Haverfordwest for helping to draw attention to the campaign and raise local awareness.”

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