National Assembly for Wales hosts launch of Companion Animal Welfare Group Wales (CAWGW)

A new group comprised of leading animal welfare charities dedicated to improving the welfare of companion animals in Wales will be holding its official launch at the National Assembly for Wales on Tuesday 2nd July.

The Companion Animal Welfare Group Wales (CAWGW) is the first group solely dedicated to improving companion animal welfare in Wales and will inform and advise on important issues such as the breeding, sale and microchipping of cats and dogs and responsible pet ownership.

The group is comprised of five full members: Blue Cross; Cats Protection; Dogs Trust; PDSA; and the Kennel Club, as well as three associate members: C.A.R.I.A.D. (Care And Respect Includes All Dogs), The Dog Breeding Reform Group and Friends of the Animals Wales. These organisations bring together extensive expertise in companion animal welfare as well as a shared commitment to championing this in Wales, where they have experienced harrowing and upsetting cases of cruelty and neglect towards companion animals.  

Collectively, the group helps tens of thousands of pets and their owners across Wales every year. This includes rehoming approximately 3,500 dogs and cats through Blue Cross, Cats Protection and Dogs Trust rehoming centres as well as via Kennel Club breed rescues and caring for 21,600 pets through PDSA’s three Pet Hospitals and Clinics. In addition, the Kennel Club have 165 Assured Breeders in Wales, with 25,000 dogs registered annually  This collaborative approach will enable CAWGW to effectively influence companion animal welfare policy and practice.

For example, in April this year, Cats Protection took in two kittens, Daffan and Dill, to their Bridgend Adoption Centre after their new owners had found their care needs overwhelming and were unable to look after them. The kittens, who had been advertised as eight weeks old, had been very sick, were still trying to suckle and suffering from relentless diarrhoea. Following a visit to the vets it was discovered they were only five weeks old, had a huge burden of worms and one was suffering from jaundice. The kittens were nursed back to full health under the care of Cats Protection but it took a lot of time, energy and money to care for them.

Similarly, last year Blue Cross took in ten month-old Cocker Spaniel, Prim, who had been found in a terrible condition and it was clear she had been suffering without treatment for months. Prim bore all the hallmarks of a hostile breeding environment, including nervousness around being outdoors as well as mange, leading staff to believe she had spent her early life on a puppy farm.    

Reflecting the fact that the welfare of companion animals is a topic that has cross-party support, the event is sponsored by Assembly Members Bethan Sayed (Plaid Cymru), Andrew RT Davies (Welsh Conservative Party) and Dawn Bowden (Labour). Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, will also be supporting the launch with a video message to attending guests.

Chairing the Companion Animal Welfare Group Wales is Christine Chapman, former Assembly Member for the Cynon Valley until 2016, who brings a wealth of experience from both frontline politics as well as her background as a strong advocate for animal welfare.

On her appointment as Chair, Christine Chapman said: “We can’t overestimate the role that companion animals have on the wellbeing of not only individuals but society as a whole. Our group, consisting of a dedicated team of partner members, will provide a strong voice and expertise to ensure that companion animal welfare is kept firmly on the political agenda here in Wales. There are many challenges facing our nation’s pets and their welfare and therefore our group will contribute to finding solutions for the benefit of companion animals and their owners.”

Supporters can follow the progress of the CAWGW and its policies through the website and via Twitter by following @CAWGWales.