In 2020 APGAW published its report on small abattoirs which we believe can support the Government’s objective to reduce live transport. We started 2021 by launching the Small Abattoir Sector Group (ASG) with the core members including Rare Breed Survival Trust, Prince’s Countryside Fund, Sustainable Food Trust, Craft Butchers, Fir Farm, Mettrick Abattoir and Lloyds Abattoirs. The APGAW secretariat has been acting as temporary facilitator for the ASG and so far we have introduced ourselves to the Ministers, responded to the Government’s Live Transport consultation and will issue a submission to the EFRA Select Committee. We are engaging with the FSA and AHDB and have set a strong priority workplan.
APGAW is running a thorough inquiry into enforcement of animal welfare following a roundtable in late 2020. This work is being led by the RSPCA and UK Centre for Animal Law (ALAW). 2021 has started with the issuing of FOIs to all local authorities, the CPS and the 43 police forces to gather the base data from which to start our analysis of enforcement. ALAW has also been undertaking an analysis of all of the legislation on animal welfare to ascertain the key enforcement body and where there are gaps in enforcement. We intend to publish an interim report in the summer.
As rabbits have a large population as pets (900,000) APGAW believes there should be more provision to protect their welfare and help owners understand how to meet their needs. We have started to lead a piece of work to deliver a non-statutory Rabbit Welfare Code with key stakeholders – PDSA, RSPCA, BVA, PfMA, AWF, Pets at Home and the Rabbit Welfare Association. We intend to publish that Code in time for Rabbit Awareness Week in June.
Animals in Science
We have set up a sub-group on Animals in Science to look at scientific procedures post Brexit. The sub-group will start by looking at inspection processes which fits into the enforcement work we are doing more broadly but we will also look at the threat of duplicate testing post Brexit.
APGAW is pursuing the recommendations within its 2019 Livestock Worrying report and since January have been having regular meetings with DEFRA to work through the issues. We are confident steps will be taken to address livestock worrying and APGAW will be working on responsible dog ownership more broadly over the year.