Not all animal sanctuaries live up to their name.
Rescues, sanctuaries, shelters - animal welfare establishments come in all shapes and sizes. Some are run by a small group of volunteers and others have dedicated staff. They can cater for all kinds of animals: dogs, cats, rabbits, exotic birds, primates, reptiles, wild birds, horses - often a mix of several all in one place.
Most will have been set up by incredibly energetic individuals devoted to animal welfare. But one thing they all have in common is that no-one is checking they have the skills, resources and knowledge to provide the right standards of care for vulnerable animals on a daily basis.
When troubled times hit such as staff sickness, a lack of volunteers or funding dries up, there's no guaranteed fail-safe to ensure that the welfare of animals they care for is never compromised.
We want minimum standards for animal sanctuaries
A group of sanctuary operators and experts think there should be compulsory standards covering the sector to protect the large number of animals cared for in such places. Over 80% of people in Wales agree* and so do we.
New Wales voluntary code of practice
A best practice guidance for people running animal sanctuaries has been published. It focusses on the issues of animal care and also on staff and volunteer management. It was drafted by the Animal Welfare Network for Wales (AWNW) - the sector council for all animals in Wales - which is made up of a coalition of organisations, including us.
We hope the voluntary code will greatly improve the operations of sanctuaries and encourage safeguards that are needed for animals based in such settings. It's a step in the right direction, but we're still campaigning towards minimum requirements being set in law to ensure animal welfare is protected.
Take action in Wales
We're calling on the Welsh Government to ensure that all animal welfare establishments have measures in place at a very minimum to ensure that, whatever happens, the welfare of animals cared for in sanctuaries is never compromised.
Licensing regulations in England
We have called for sanctuaries to be included in new licensing regulations in England, which cover activities like the commercial sale of pets and dog and cat boarding, as we believe this would have positive welfare benefits. For the latest on this issue, and other issues animals face in England today, sign up to receive campaigns updates.
* These figures are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,103 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10-13 January 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative (politically) of all Welsh adults (aged 18+).