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Below is an edited report on the Animal Welfare Network Wales Conference held this week. It is very clear that the Welsh are looking to impose a significantly more stringent animal welfare/rights (delete as appropriate) secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act then the rest of the UK.

It would be highly advisable for residents in Wales to consider forming there own societies in order to have a say in there future!
AWNW (Animal Welfare Network Wales) Conference,
Welsh Assembly Cardiff, 31st October 2007
Objectives of AWNW

It is a networking organisation not a welfare organisation
It is not a policy generating group
It is used to exchange information and initiate discussions to target particular welfare issues

Members

A full list can be found on the website www.awnwales.org but members range from those involved in the rescue of wild animals to those involved in the re-homing of companion animals. Worryingly, SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) and WARN (Western Animal Rights Network) are also listed as members. When questioned, the Chair replied that there was nothing in their applications to bar them from membership. However, all present agreed that only those operating within the law should be afforded membership. The Chair agreed to investigate.

Secondary Legislation & Codes of Practice

Wales will lead on the rabbit code
England will lead on cats and dogs
Scotland will lead on horses

These will form the template for codes on all other species

The key issue for the next 12 months will be greyhound welfare.

Network

It was discussed that the setting up of a forum on the website would be a good way of raising issues for discussion and was generally agreed by all. However, anyone posting on the forum would have to do so as their organisations’ representative and not as themselves.

Lorraine Barrett – Chair of APGAW (Wales)

The priorities for animal welfare in the National Assembly for Wales:-

  • Bovine TB
  • Exotic pets – (this will include animals such as hamsters, gerbils, jirds, degus, chinchillas, as well as reptiles)
  • Electric shock collars
  • Game rearing
  • Circuses
  • Transport of animals
  • Bull fighting and all festivals involving animals in the name of culture or religion
  • Experimental monkey farms in Spain
  • Cat & dog fur trade
  • Badgers & greyhounds (currently priority)

She went on to talk about ‘when it’s alright to trespass’ in the name of animal welfare and told the story of a photographer who went too close to the hunters on a seal cull and was now facing criminal charges in Canada. In her opinion, this man is a hero for ‘breaking the law’ to bring this to the worlds’ attention. This is worrying because this lady is in a position of influence yet was suggesting that laws could be broken or ignored in the quest for animal welfare.

After lunch, the attendees split into 3 groups according to their particular interest. The groups were – Companion Animals, Wildlife, and Farming.

Each group participated in an exercise called ‘How would you like to see animal welfare in Wales in 2012?’ It was at this point that it became blatantly obvious that the other people there had very strong anti animal keeping views.
Here are the key points that came out of each group:-

Companion Animals

  • Ban on rabbit hutches
  • Dog licences to be re-introduced
  • Compulsory micro chipping of pets
  • Ban on selling animals in pet shops
  • Ban on selling animals via the internet
  • Education on species care prior to being allowed to own a pet
  • Ban on puppy farms
  • Awareness – availability of information
Sensible suggestions included:-

  • Working closely with Defra
  • LA Inspectors to have training to enable them to make informed decisions on ALL taxa

Wildlife

  • Animal welfare to be on school curriculum
  • More wildlife crime officers to be appointed
  • Larger police presence in wildlife habitats
  • No fireworks outside of specific times
  • All sanctuaries to be inspected & regulated
  • Marine management
  • No primates to be sold
  • All animal sales to be licensed
  • Legislation to ban certain human activities that interfere with wildlife

Farming

  • Less importation
  • Less transportation and movement of animals
  • Natural breeding
  • Fewer imports from countries with lower welfare standards than here
  • Farm licences to set minimum standards
  • Industry led policing
  • On the spot fines
  • More targeted inspections of farms
  • Improved communication re good practice



 

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More wildlife crime officers to be appointed
Larger police presence in wildlife habitats


look at those two, terrible ideas theres not enough police to do jobs in towns and cities let alone more to patrol wildlife areas.
 

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Yes, but then us tax payers can foot the bill for them cant we, so not only do we end up loosing our pets, but paying them to make sure we do !


On a slightly different angle, reading chris's post, one can see how a lot of the info that gets posted has NO hard proof, yet !

These are simply groups of people with an interest who get together and discuss matters. However, they DO know people, they DO know how to effect the parties that make the laws we have to live by.

So, that, if nothing else, just goes to show how important it is that we join together, that we make our point, that we effect the law makers.

All this, oh you scare me, I dont understand, show me hard facts.... it dont wash, this IS happening and its happening NOW.

We need to make sure OUR voice is heard just as much as thiers, we need to address the issues they put so much value on, remove the bullets from thier guns. AND we need to be SEEN to do this.
 

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Before any mass panic, it is important to note that this is a conference. There are some influential and disturbing names there, but however - it is just a discussion, it only outlines intentions and ideas, it does not constitute what will actually happen.

I think it's great that Chris has shared this with us - and everyone should read it, take it seriously, and be very aware of the threat... and these conferences should outline the fact that the exotic market is very much unrepresented - where are our conferences, our discussions, our groups meeting in important places with important agendas? Oh yes, we don't actually have any. There are organisations that come across as being very respectable and will be taken very seriously by government officials and joe bloggs alike.

Would it really be that hard for the FBH or the IHS to organise a proper conference - they are a big organisation, could we not have a counter conference to discuss all the possibilities, the legislations, retail conditions, show conditions, something that could be used to counter this sort of negativity. Perhaps it would be very hard and very expensive.. I really don't know, I am just offering a suggestion, I really do think it would be worth it.

I mean, an intelligent, well thought out conference, discussion, not a campaign against people, not a left wing rant, just something to show we have brains too and are considering the welfare and care of our animals, passion, hobby, and businesses and assessing how things will change in the future... the way we want to see the hobby being in 2012.
 

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Yes, but then us tax payers can foot the bill for them cant we, so not only do we end up loosing our pets, but paying them to make sure we do !


On a slightly different angle, reading chris's post, one can see how a lot of the info that gets posted has NO hard proof, yet !

These are simply groups of people with an interest who get together and discuss matters. However, they DO know people, they DO know how to effect the parties that make the laws we have to live by.

So, that, if nothing else, just goes to show how important it is that we join together, that we make our point, that we effect the law makers.

All this, oh you scare me, I dont understand, show me hard facts.... it dont wash, this IS happening and its happening NOW.

We need to make sure OUR voice is heard just as much as thiers, we need to address the issues they put so much value on, remove the bullets from thier guns. AND we need to be SEEN to do this.
theres no point in dragging that up again
 

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we are talking about holding a conference yes... the biggest issue with it, is the lack of bums on seats we are worried we would get..

if you look at just the shows.. how many post do we see saying "its too far" or "i'm too busy" and in some cases justifiably so.. like you christy with norwich show.. its a long way from wales to norwich, and you have a shop to run too.. thats mirrored by people up and down the country..

my idea was to have a PKL xmas party.. or new year party.. or whenever occasion party.. with a conference held in conjuction with it..

sadly, more people will turn up to a piss up with the chance of being fed, than they will to "just" a conference.

its a good point christy makes though, at the end of the day, these people will be submitting their ideas to the welsh assembly. if the welsh assembly decide to take them on as policy and run them, then we really could be in hot water.. they only have one side to listen to at present after all.. and it does not help that their symapthies lie with the anti pet keeping sides..

its very frustrating when your hands are tied from saying half the things you know are actually going on at this time.. and it does make it hard when half the stuff we uncover, is being told us by people who should not always be doing so!!! do you reveal the source, provide "proof" and totally screw the information chain? you can't can you... you would never be told anything ever again.. added to to that, we know that people from all the major groups - rspca, defra, peta, caps etc etc read these forums and read these sections. sometimes, watching the "guest traffic" to this particular forum is telling in itself.

its spooky tho, how close some of these recomendations are to what PKL was talking about regarding the RSPCA and Australia...

Companion Animals
  • Ban on rabbit hutches
  • Dog licences to be re-introduced
  • Compulsory micro chipping of pets
  • Ban on selling animals in pet shops
  • Ban on selling animals via the internet
  • Education on species care prior to being allowed to own a pet
  • Ban on puppy farms
  • Awareness – availability of information
what people don't know, is how sympathetic the welsh assembly are to the "ban animal keeping" brigade.. and we know, that the answer to that is VERY sympathetic..

yes, these are just talks at the moment, but.. most policies that get passed, have talks about them first... do you think they banned smoking without talking about it first? of course not.. just because this is "just at the talk" stage.. does not mean it will not go further.

at the moment, the eyes of the people who make the choices, are being firmly held by the "ban animal keeping bridage" (BAKB)

unless we do something to countact the negative way in which animal keepers are seen, then why would they NOT follow the recomendations that these conferences have put on the table? all very well to say what reason have they got to do it.. how about what reason have they got NOT to do it?

if the bunny huggers in goverment, think animals will be better off by banning this, or regulating that.. then why would they NOT go ahead with some of these proposals??? they will know no better, as they only have the story from the BAKB side.. they will think they are doing good for the animals..

(and in some cases, honesty impels me to admit they might be right... i've seen some shocking pet shops that i would have banned from selling animals too given half a chance.)

40 years ago, it was inconcievable that you would not be allowed to have a smoke, whilst stood in your local pub.

in 40 years time, i hope i am not writing.. 40 years ago it was inconcievable that you would be unable to buy and keep companion animals..

and the talk about scaremongering? tbh.. makes me laugh.. you lot think what we have said so far is scaremongering??? good lord, is this pre-school or something??? if we are responsible enough to take on a pet.. then we should really be able to handle reading about the issues that are going on within the pet markets, preferably without crying over it like a bunch of wet behind the ears children! if you only knew about some of the things we CAN'T say in this arena.. you think we are scaremongering now.. jesus H.. if only you knew!!! the amount of "how the hell do we get this onto public domain with dropping people in it" conversations i hear.. its enough to drive you potty! its like people want it handed to them cut and dried on a plate.. but my friends... by the time the crop is harvested.. it is too late to do anything about it..

N
 

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Do we know how many attendees this conference in Cardiff actually had?

If an organisation was to hold a conference I don't know as we would strictly need high numbers. If we are purely having an informative discussion, not a lobbiest group - but looking at proposals, what we think should be changed (and lets admit it, I doubt there is anyone on this forum who truly believes that nothing should change in regard to shops and shows at the very least) and basically put forward our side...

Because as you say Nerys, if this proposal goes to government officials and they get one bias report, and we don't even put forward our side of the story then we've lost a battle right from the start.

In an official conference drawing up proposals and taking minutes to meetings of discussion regarding the hobby - I don't think "bums on seats" is that important. Think quality not quantity. 500 hobbyists which include those who may have only kept one corn snake, or may have just nipped in because their friend on the forum said they should... would not make a conference, it would be a very interesting meeting, yes, but would it be something that someone could write up the documentation for proposals for? Probably not.. the more people you have, the more opinions, the more trouble, the less organised.

I would personally just like to see it being organised and if just the "voices" who speak on behalf of the people could make it, and actually make some formal written documents that then everyone can read.. then it would be a plus. If I could not make it for example, I would be very happy to support someone else as speaking on my behalf, sharing my views... If just a few dozen people that included perhaps some rescue organisations, some retailers, some keepers, some breeders, ideally some representatives from wholesaler companies - some of the people involved in the organisations such as the FBH, IHS, BHS, Tortoise Trust, and so on and so forth.

I know this is important to the keeper and it is important as a community to lobby together, but for politics... you don't need numbers, you need the right people who can speak for their sectors.

I honestly think that you could get 100-150 bums on seats by just organising it, and writing a formal letter to retailers, organisations, rescue places, wholesalers, inviting them to a discussion that would be used for putting forth our own proposals for change.

It would be no good to sit back and say we don't want change! No change for us! Because there are serious flaws with the exotics, it is growng too fast, there are too many new reptile species and shops, there is not enough care and advice or animal welfare, and there is way too much fuel for people who are against us. If other people are putting forward proposals for change in 2012. Let us put our proposals for change forward, and show that we are all on the same level, we all want what's best but show that there are different ways of doing it, prove that banning pet sales is not going to be the best way forward for the british public or the animals.
 

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Do we know how many attendees this conference in Cardiff actually had?
i can find out yes..

i do know there were members of the reptile community there actually.. i'm curious as to what their take on it was, but have not heard yet.

who do people think we should have at a conference then? who should we invite along?

N
 

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we are talking about holding a conference yes... the biggest issue with it, is the lack of bums on seats we are worried we would get..
If the Essex meeting and the 3 FBH conferences are anything to go by.... I wouldn't go booking Wembley Arena.
 

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Sadly,

Its takes news on this kind to shake people.

I talked to Chris last night about this, which he has revealed today, and thankfully he has revealed it.

I find all of this particularly alarming, because the Welsh assembly is smaller than parliament, and if it decides to to pass something, can do with relative ease and speed. And l wonder how tempting it would be for England to follow suit?

If l had posted this alone, l would have faced the scaremongering threats again. The usual blaney from PKL!

But this is something that is not in Australia but sadly in the UK.

As you can see, its not speculative, but factual.

It is worrying.

Conferences, they will not work, because unless it is a hard verified feature that something disastrous is going to happen, most people do not want to know.

And then we look at the reality, Retailers like Christy, who are running their stores can not always attend, keepers like Ssthisto who may not have transport.

No we would need to do almost a road tour of conferences to be on the realistic level and attendance itself.

R
PKL
 

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Thanks for the information Chris. This is a serious matter that needs to be disseminated throughout the reptile keeping community within Wales. I will do what I can with my contacts.
Graham.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Graham, it is absolutely essential for anyone living in Wales NOT to underestimate the influence of this organisation, it has direct links to the highest levels of government and its views will count!

If there is not already a Welsh reptile society (?) then I suggest one is started with all due expediency. Stakeholder involvement it imperative, without it you (Welsh keepers) will not have a voice, no voice then you will have no chance to argue your case and you WILL be steamrollered into extinction!
 

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Graham, it is absolutely essential for anyone living in Wales NOT to underestimate the influence of this organisation, it has direct links to the highest levels of government and its views will count!

If there is not already a Welsh reptile society (?) then I suggest one is started with all due expediency. Stakeholder involvement it imperative, without it you (Welsh keepers) will not have a voice, no voice then you will have no chance to argue your case and you WILL be steamrollered into extinction!
I know someone on here tried to set up the welsh reptile association last year, but I don't think they had any success with it - I have worked very hard setting up Cardiff Reptile Association but it will be a long time getting members, and I am still looking for strong people to help with the committee... these things take a lot of time! It took me 4 months just to get all the paperwork, registration and accounts ready.
 

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hopefully no one is going to be "steamrollered into extiction" if we get our butts in gear
 

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thats frikken left wing government for you!!:bash:
regards gaz
 
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