Although most animal welfare establishments, or 'sanctuaries' are invaluable resources for the improvement of animal welfare, there are times when things go wrong.
Resources can be overwhelmed or capability surpassed for both large and small organisations, in these cases a framework is necessary to protect vulnerable animals and their carers who may find themselves out of their depth.
The regulation of animal welfare establishments is already in force in some European countries, and there are parallels with the regulation of other animal welfare establishments such as riding schools, dog breeders and kennels/catteries.
Similar measures could be introduced for sanctuaries in Wales with regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
In 2020 the Welsh Government published the Code of Best Practice for Animal Welfare Establishments, aiming to mitigate some of the welfare issues seen in recent years. While the Code of Practice was welcomed by the RSPCA, there are concerns about the efficacy of the Code of Practice, with promotion of it limited.
RSPCA Cymru launched our own communications plan to help promote the Code, and will seek to evaluate its effectiveness 12-months after its publication. The RSPCA remains committed that only Regulation of sanctuaries can have the desired effect of preventing welfare issues from occurring in welfare establishments.