RSPCA Shop Next Gen Education
Colour mode

Safer animal sanctuaries

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.

Sanctuaries must be supported, ensuring that the most vulnerable animals are protected, and we're sure you agree.

All animals should be kept safe and sound

We want minimum standards for animal sanctuaries, no exceptions. 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. A whopping 88% of people in Wales agree* that vital regulation needs to be in place, and so do we. A huge majority of animal welfare establishments in Wales also favour regulation, with 82%** in agreement.

Change could be coming in Wales

While best practice guidance for people running animal sanctuaries was published in 2020 to help improve animal welfare establishments (AWEs), we're pleased to say that the Welsh Government is now considering essential changes to regulations.

We've launched our brand new report, Progressing the regulation of Animal Welfare Establishments (AWEs) in Wales, outlining our recommendations for these establishments in Wales. While change is on the horizon in Wales, we need to make sure that these changes are put to good use and work well in practice.

Download the RSPCA April 2023 report

Download the RSPCA report in Welsh

Our recommendations include:

  • Training and promotion of the Code of Practice
  • Stringent staffing requirements
  • Vital training and funding for AWE's and their staff
  • Species specific guidance
  • Limit on the number of animals in AWEs to allow a fair staff to animal ration, ensuring all animals get the time and care they need
  • Adequate funding and training for local authorities

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.

Sign up to our newsletter

* 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+).

**All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from SurveyMonkey. Total sample size was 28 Animal Welfare Establishments in Wales, with this including animal sanctuaries and rescue and rehoming centres. Fieldwork was undertaken between February 4 and March 3 2022. The survey was carried out online and the figures have been weighted.

Share this...