Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths visited Battersea Dogs & Cats Home this week to experience life on the front line of animal welfare. Ms Griffiths visit marks the first time a Welsh Government Minister has come to the world-famous, London rescue centre.

The Minister was joined by Wales’ Chief Veterinary Officer Christianne Glossop on a tour of Battersea, to learn about how the charity handles the consequences of challenging animal welfare issues, including animal cruelty, puppy farming and the dangers of buying dogs and cats online.

Battersea welcomes Welsh Government Minister to their London centre

Minister Lesley Griffiths said:

“It was a wonderful opportunity to come to Battersea to learn more about the challenges facing the rescue sector and to hear about their work in rescuing dogs from puppy farms, including from Wales.

“Wales is a nation of animal lovers and the Welsh Government is committed to ensuring we have high standards of animal welfare. Visiting rescue centres like Battersea is invaluable as it shows the front-line impact Government policies can have on improving animal welfare.”

Battersea Chief Executive Claire Horton, who led the tour, highlighted the need for tougher sentences for animal cruelty in Wales and England. Both nations currently have a maximum animal cruelty sentence of just six months, one of the lowest in Europe.

Claire Horton said:

“The Welsh and Westminster Governments have committed to introduce a Bill to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. Animals don’t have a voice, so we must speak for them – and that’s why we’re urging all UK Governments to make good on their commitments ensure this law becomes a reality as soon as possible. Here at Battersea, we see some heart-breaking cases of animal cruelty come through our doors – and we must make sure the punishment fits the crime.”

During the tour, the Minister and Ms Glossop were introduced to two puppy farm dogs, who are recovering and learning to trust again after years of being used as breeding machines.

Battersea welcomed the chance to encourage the Welsh Government to introduce a ban on third-party sales, and crack down on the puppy farming industry.

Claire Horton continued:

“Right now, dogs across the country are being kept in appalling conditions for the sake of a quick profit, and this must stop. We’ve been advocating for a ban on third-party sales across the UK, to prevent people from being allowed to sell puppies unless they also own the mother. This would ensure puppy farms can’t use pet shops and dealers as a front for their business.

“We were thrilled when Minister Griffiths announced a consultation on introducing a third-party sales ban late last year. We hope to work with her and the Welsh Government to make this law a reality as soon as possible.”

Find out more about Battersea’s campaign to increase sentences for animal cruelty at: http://notfunny.battersea.org.uk/