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Plan to achieve good quality of life for all animals in Wales published

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It outlines how the Welsh Government will take forward its animal welfare commitments in its Programme for Government

A FIVE-YEAR plan which outlines steps towards achieving the ambition of ensuring a good quality of life for all animals in Wales will be published today by the Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths.

Our Animal Welfare Plan for Wales builds on what has already been achieved since the devolution of animal welfare powers in 2006. 

It outlines how the Welsh Government will take forward its animal welfare commitments in its Programme for Government, and other measures to further improve animal welfare. 

The plan also includes a broad range of ongoing animal welfare policy work, including statutory guidance for existing regulations, licensing of animal exhibits, welfare of animals in transport, and Codes of Practice. Finally, it describes how the Welsh Government will work collaboratively with the other UK governments to further the animal welfare agenda, for example through the forthcoming Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.

The Programme for Government commitments captured in the plan are:

To develop a national model for the regulation of animal welfare, introducing registration for animal welfare establishments, commercial breeders for pets or for shooting, and animal exhibits;

  • To Improve the qualifications for animal welfare inspectors to raise their professional status;
  • To require CCTV in all slaughterhouses;
  • To restrict the use of cages for farmed animals.
  • To mark the publication, the Minister will visit Greenmeadow Community Farm near Cwmbran.

Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I’m very proud of what has already been achieved in Wales in animal welfare.  But there is more to do.  Our long-term ambition is for every animal in Wales to have a good quality of life.  Today’s plan outlines steps towards achieving that ambition.

“We will work with all partners to take forward our commitments.  This includes further boosting protection for pets by looking at registration of animal welfare establishments, enhancing the much-valued animal welfare inspection profession through improved qualifications, and looking at how we can minimise the use of cages for farmed animals.

“I’m also pleased to confirm that we will be requiring all slaughterhouses in Wales to have CCTV – while the vast majority already do we will ensure this is the case for all.

“Achieving a good quality of life for all animals is ambitious, but that is what we must aim for.”

Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, Christianne Glossop said: “Well cared for animals are more often healthy and contented animals.  Preventing disease and injury in the first place is always the better option.  Having high animal welfare standards ensures their needs are met, whether they are companion animals or farmed livestock.

“The plan we are publishing today builds on what has already been achieved in the field of animal welfare, ensuring we continue to improve as we work towards the ambition of a good quality of life for all animals kept in Wales.”

Partnership working will be key to the success of the plan. A key component relates to the enforcement of current and future legislation and, in support of this, a Local Authority Enforcement Project, working in collaboration with Trading Standards Wales, is currently in its second year.

Strategic Lead and Trading Standards and Animal Health Manager for Monmouthshire County Council Gareth Walters has welcomed the plan.  He said:  

“The Local Authority Enforcement project has recently overseen the appointment of 8 new Animal Licensing Officers. They will offer crucial support required by Local Authority animal health services by providing a shared resource across Wales as a recognised point of expertise. The new officers will enable existing animal health officers to focus on wider animal health and welfare work.

“The forthcoming launch of an online information system may develop into a single point of reference for licence applications in support of the Welsh Government’s ‘National Model’ commitment, while the development of an animal licensing qualification will complement the Animal Health and Welfare professional qualification provided by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute launched earlier this year. These qualifications will provide the foundation which existing and future officers require to ensure knowledge and understanding, alongside access to specialised training where necessary”.

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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