A host of animal welfare organisations are uniting to deliver a new initiative aiming to keep pet owners, dogs and livestock safe in the countryside.
The two-day 'Animals, Land & You' (A.L.Y.) event will take place at the Royal Welsh Show's Winter Fair, on Monday 27th November and Tuesday 28th November, aiming to help "pet owners, dogs, livestock and other animals live harmoniously alongside one another".
A.L.Y is co-ordinated by the Animal Welfare Network for Wales (AWNW), a coalition of organisations with the shared aim of improving welfare standards for animals across the country.
The importance of the event is highlighted by "shocking statistics", stating that – between May 2014 and May 2015 - there were 108 separate incidents of livestock attacks recorded in North Wales, most of which involved sheep (North Wales Police). Across the UK as a whole, in 2016, 15,000 sheep were killed, and 49 dogs destroyed, as a consequence of sheep worrying (SheepWatch UK).
AWNW say the extent of dog attacks on livestock, and the specific challenges of caring for dogs in rural communities, emphasises the “need for animal welfare groups to collaborate” by helping to inform the public how they can “keep dogs, livestock and other animals safe around each other”.
The event is free to attend, and takes place at the FUW Pavilion at the Royal Welsh Showground in Llanelwedd. Seminars begin at 2pm on both days, and complimentary tea and coffee is provided to attendees.
Seminars will focus on a series of topics aimed at improving the experiences of animal owners in the countryside. Talks include sessions on dog training and behaviour, training dogs around farm animals, and dealing with livestock worrying. Presentations will be led by the FUW, Hope Rescue, Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and North Wales Police.
The event will also be attended by Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs; Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales and Peredur Hughes, Chair of the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group..
Nic De Brauwere, chair of the AWNW, said: “We all want to see a rural Wales where pet owners, dogs, livestock and other animals live harmoniously alongside one another – but so many challenges exist.
“Sadly, we know 15,000 sheep across the UK in 2016 were killed through sheep worrying alone. Clearly, there’s a need for animal welfare groups to collaborate, and share vital information at events like this, which can keep dogs, livestock and other animals safe around each other.
“From improving confidence around livestock, to securing gardens, mastering dog leads and understanding the dangers of dog waste, there’s so many practical steps the public can make to stay safe - and a host of fantastic speakers, including North
Wales Police, FUW and APBC will put these topics under the spotlight.
“We’re also delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary, Lesley Griffiths, and Peredur Hughes from the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, as we all look to collaborate together to improve animal welfare outcomes throughout rural Wales”.
Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, added: “The Welsh Government and the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group are dedicated to delivering continuing and lasting improvements in standards of animal health and welfare – and are delighted to work with the Animal Welfare Network Wales’s ALY initiative to help achieve this.
“These vital seminars cover a range of hugely important topics which will help keep the public, dogs, livestock and other animals safe in our rural communities..”
Visit the ALY website to find out more