Animal welfare must be a key consideration of the Welsh Government’s new strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk, according to RSPCA Cymru.

The animal welfare charity has responded to the Welsh Government’s new plans, highlighting the importance of ensuring communities are prepared to protect animals in the event of an emergency.

Almost half of all households in Wales own at least one animal, and many may be unwilling to vacate or leave an emergency situation unless the welfare of their animals was guaranteed.

The RSPCA believes incorporating guidance and advice for pet, equine and farm animal owners, and animal-related businesses, is key in ensuring animal safety during emergency situations.

RSPCA Cymru already recognises public bodies that go above and beyond the duty to ensure animal welfare is at the heart of their contingency planning process – via their PawPrints scheme.

Lewis Clark, RSPCA public affairs adviser, said: “As Wales explores a new approach for flood and coastal erosion risk, this is a great opportunity to highlight the importance of considering animals in any emergency or contingency planning.

“By aiding the preparedness of those owning animals, or involved in animal-related businesses, the Welsh Government can best ensure the safety of those communities facing flood and coastal erosion risk.

“The loss of animals can mean the loss of a source of emotional support, or loss of livelihood. By providing clear advice and guidance on how to care for animals in the case of coastal flooding or erosion, we can mitigate these risks and enhance human and animal safety within these communities across Wales.”

Should you wish to help RSPCA Cymru with their animal welfare work, you can donate online.