Blue Cross pushes govt for improved welfare legislation enforcement

File image. © Helen Yates/Blue Cross

With Britain’s new Parliament in place national pet charity Blue Cross is pushing for a new start for animals, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.

The charity’s manifesto includes a call for the better enforcement of animal welfare legislation, the regulation of animal sanctuaries and rehoming organisations, and better recognition of the benefits of pets for mental health and wellbeing.

Blue Cross has launched a new manifesto to improve animal welfare.

“A new parliament signifies new opportunities and we hope this means significant and lasting change for animals, which safeguards and protects the vulnerable,” Blue Cross Head of Public Affairs Becky Thwaites said.

“We have a lot of new MP’s to get to know and we are looking forward to bringing the issues in our manifesto to the forefront of their minds.”

Blue Cross is concerned that a lack of local authority resources is making it difficult to properly enforce animal welfare legislation. Local authorities have seen considerable cuts to their budgets in recent years which is likely to have had a significant impact on their ability to effectively enforce and investigate. The charity is calling for increased local authority resources and training to ensure officers have the required knowledge to apply all relevant pet welfare legislation.

While the majority of animal rescue and rehoming organisations maintain high standards of animal welfare, some organisations and individuals operating as rescues can become overwhelmed and struggle to meet animal welfare needs. Blue Cross is calling for the Government to publish a consultation on regulating animal sanctuaries and rehoming organisations and the introduction of an accompanying system of inspection to ensure welfare standards are met.

In November 2019, Blue Cross published a major report ‘A Link in the Chain: tackling mental health, poverty and loneliness through pet ownership’. It showed the powerful bond that vulnerable people have with their pets and displayed the beneficial effect pet ownership can have on society as whole.

Blue Cross is calling for the Department of Health and NHS England to undertake a comprehensive review into the provision of Animal-Assisted Therapy for mental health patients and for mental health professionals to receive training in the five freedoms enshrined in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to enable them to support their service users. The charity is also calling for the Government to include the benefits of pet ownership in alleviating loneliness to be included in the Loneliness Strategy.

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