Act Now For Animals report released

Redwings has joined an unprecedented coalition of 50 animal welfare charities urging the Government not to waste a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to redefine our relationship with animals through a new animal health and welfare strategy.

The group has released a new report - “Act Now For Animals” - setting out the sector’s priorities for creating a society which rebalances the way we rear, live and work with animals.

The paper sets out 40 recommendations - including measures to improve horse, pony and donkey welfare and others which cover farmed animals, wildlife, exotics and animals used in laboratories.

You can read the coalition's full Vision Paper here.

Crucial to the paper’s recommendations, is the role of the new Animal Sentience Committee. For the Government to fulfill its commitment to recognise animals as sentient beings, the coalition are clear that the committee must have real teeth. It must be independently chaired, made up of the leading animal welfare experts in the country and be able to meaningfully hold Ministers to account.

Nic de Brauwere MRCVS, Chair of the National Equine Welfare Council and Head of Welfare at Redwings said: “We call on the Government to make the most of this opportunity to create a new vision for welfare that really puts the animals at the centre. We want to see a strategy that accounts for more than just their basic needs but also focuses on those things that can improve their quality of life and wellbeing so they have a positive experience in all their dealings with us.”

Chris Packham, who has lent his support to the charities, added: “The last animal welfare strategy was 17 years ago in 2004 and so much has changed since then. The past two decades have seen an attitudinal change in the public and growing scientific understanding that animals have emotions, feelings and needs and deserve a good life.

“We must act now for animals and ensure the Government does not squander this opportunity to build a world-leading animal welfare strategy, fit for the 21st century and deserving of this nation of animal lovers.”

Other influential names lending their support to the action include DJ Sara Cox, TV personality Angela Rippon, dancer and TV personality Arlene Phillips, actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna and actress Carol Royle.

Equine welfare recommendations include

  • Ensure equine identification is enforced effectively for the first time in 12 years by ensuring there is a statutory obligation to enforce the rules, requiring the registration of equine premises and make  one person responsible for keeping the Government’s equine database up to date; this will  ensure data on equines and premises is accurate linking the owner to the horse and so improve animal welfare and reduce anti social behaviour .
  • Stop the live export of equines for slaughter and further fattening
  • Review of existing fireworks legislation and their impact on animal welfare, with a view to introducing further restrictions on their use and sale.  Public displays should be licensed by the relevant council.
  • Using the model operating in Scotland to introduce licencing and inspections of sanctuaries and rescue centres in England and Wales

The report highlights that National Equine Welfare Council members took in 186 horses, ponies and donkeys from struggling sanctuaries or rescue centres in 2019 alone.

Findings from the British Veterinary Association revealed that almost one in five equine vets dealt with firework-related injuries to a horse in 2018

Lynn Cutress, our Chief Executive, said: “We have always claimed to be a nation of animal lovers and we know that by and large it’s still true, if only from the sheer number of letters received by our MPs on issues of equine and animal welfare from the public. That’s why it has been so crucial to see the animal welfare sector unite on this document, and it’s vital that we continue to work together to get it right for the animals that mean so much to us.”

Lynn and Adoption Star Fox appear alongside some very impressive company in this promotional video - please share widely