A new report by RSPCA Cymru highlights a number of key welfare issues surrounding wild animals.

RSPCA Cymru’s Wild Animal Welfare Indicators provide an insight into the welfare issues surrounding wild animals in Wales by looking at the current situation and also make recommendations for improvements.

The term ‘wild animal’ means different things to different people, but the RSPCA class ‘wild animals’ as all those that are not normally domesticated. The list ranges from badgers to nesting birds, and includes pet snakes and elephants in captivity.

Indicators cover picturePolling from RSPCA Cymru, as part of a new report, reveal that the majority of people in Wales support an outright ban of snares, a ban on keeping primates as pets and a ban on wild animals performing in circuses in Wales.

Some of the top line insights the report are:

Polling from RSPCA Cymru found that 74 percent* of the public support a ban on wild animals performing in circuses in Wales after hearing that other European countries have banned animal performances in circuses.

RSPCA Cymru found that 72 percent* of those polled in Wales support a ban on the keeping of all primates as pet and recommends that the keeping of primates as pets is banned.

RSPCA Cymru recommends that there is a need for more funding to investigate the trade in exotic pets in Wales. How regulations and codes of practice may work would also be welcomed as would the inclusion of this important issue in future Animal Health and Welfare Framework plans.

The RSPCA recommends that sanctuaries (known as animal welfare establishments, ‘shelters’, ‘rehoming centres’ or ‘wildlife clinics/hospitals’) – which are not regulated – need a system of registration or licensing by the local authority (which must be cost-recoverable for the council) that provides for risk-based inspections, unannounced spot checks and mandatory minimum operating policies. RSPCA Cymru believe this is the only way to provide protection for both the animals on site and the long-term sustainable future for the sanctuary.

More than 1,000 campaign actions have been taken by RSPCA supporters in efforts to get local authorities to ban sky lanterns – which pose a danger to wildlife, farm animals and pets. So far 14 out of the 22 local authorities have implemented a ban on their land.

RSPCA Cymru recommends that only an outright ban on the use of snares in Wales meets the expectations of the public to ensure high animal welfare standards are reflected in our laws. RSPCA Cymru found that 72 percent* support a ban on all snares for all animals in Wales.

Assistant director external relations – Wales, Claire Lawson, said: “Our polling clearly shows that the majority of the Welsh public support change when it comes to improving wild animal welfare.

“Wild Animal Welfare Indicators intends not only to benchmark and demonstrate ‘where we are’ with wild animal welfare in Wales, but aims to be thought-provoking, encourage change and make recommendations as to how improvements can be made.

“It is hoped this report can be a valuable guide to what is happening in Wales with regard to wild animal welfare and means that problems can be identified and addressed, solutions established, and positive learning replicated across different issues.”

Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, said: “I am grateful to RSPCA Cymru for the latest in its series of animal welfare indicators and one which, for the first time, brings together a collection of indicators that provide an insight into the welfare issues surrounding wild animals in Wales.

“We in Wales are at the forefront of implementing higher animal welfare standards. The Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework sets out our vision for continuing and lasting improvements in standards for kept animals whilst also helping to protect public health and contributing to the economy and the environment. The Framework represents a significant opportunity for us to focus on delivery to achieve the highest standards of animal health and welfare and this indicator report, which contains a snapshot of some of the animal welfare concerns, provides a baseline of available data and recommendations for improvements.

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with RSPCA Cymru and stakeholders across Wales to continue the progress made to raise standards of animal health and welfare.”

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

Notes to Editors:
Wild Animal Welfare Indicators can be found at http://politicalanimal.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Wild-animal-welfare-indicators-bilingual.pdf
A short film on Wild Animal Welfare will be available on RSPCA Cymru’s YouTube channel from 4 November https://www.youtube.com/user/RSPCACymru
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1036 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th – 22nd August 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Welsh adults (aged 18+).`
In December 2014 RSPCA Cymru launched a new phase of a campaign in a bid to encourage the Welsh Government to introduce regulations for animal sanctuaries. To take the action visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/walessanctuaries
More than 7,500 people have signed a petition to urge the Welsh Government to introduce a long-awaited ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. The RSPCA has long pushed for a complete ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. The power to introduce a ban lies with the National Assembly for Wales. On October 20 the National Assembly for Wales’ Petitions Committee will discuss the petition which was recently handed to committee chair, William Powell AM, by RSPCA Cymru’s political campaigns manager Martin Fidler Jones and RSPCA Cymru board chair and RSPCA council member Paul Baxter. The RSPCA believes that the complex needs of wild animals can never be adequately met in a circus environment and regular transport, cramped and bare temporary housing, forced training and performance are all unavoidable realities for the animals.
The Welsh Government have just released a Code of Practice on the use of snares for foxes. Despite this development the RSPCA only supports a complete ban on the use of snares for all species.