The Welsh Pony and Cob Society's role with regard to Welfare issues
There have been a number of welfare issues in the press recently and it is worth reminding members of the role of the Society with regard to Welfare.
The Society’s role with regard to welfare is in educating and informing Welsh Pony and Cob owners and breeders of the necessary requirements to ensure good standards of care are provided at all times. The Society has a Code of Practise for the Welfare of Welsh Ponies and Cobs which can be found here and a free leaflet on Purchasing and Caring for your Welsh Pony and Cob. Furthermore, the Society produces a comprehensive booklet on the Care and Management of Welsh Ponies and Cobs which can be purchased from the office for £3.
Members' attention is also drawn to an article on Welfare on page 25 of the Society magazine (Welsh Pony and Cob Society News, Autumn 2013), written by the Society’s Honorary Veterinary Surgeon Mr Roland Michell, and its centre page pull-out poster that contains a Checklist for Equine Health, developed by BEVA. Every member of the Society receives a free copy of the magazine, which regularly contains articles and information on welfare issues.
Limitations of the Society
At a recent meeting of the Services, Education and Welfare committee, the following was confirmed:
Trading Standards has authority covering the whole of Wales and most have wide-ranging and greater powers of inspection than the Police, they have the authority to:
- Enter a property
- Request a vet to attend
- Remove animals away
- Search the property and take any information away as evidence
- Stop vehicles
The Society along with its Welfare Officer can offer advice and guidance, but as outlined above the Society has no legal powers to act in welfare cases.
The Society does recognise that sometimes things go wrong and the Society has an appointed Welfare Officer who deals with any welfare complaints received by the Society. Any concerns that members have should be expressed in a signed letter and sent to the office, when the appropriate action will be taken.
It has be to be noted and accepted that the Society has no powers of enforcement, therefore if a situation is such that it requires more than advice/support, the matter will be referred to the appropriate organisation(s) (e.g. Trading Standards / World Horse Welfare). The Society’s Welfare Officer works closely with these organisations and sits on the National Equine Welfare Council, as does the Chair of SEW, ensuring that the Society is kept informed of developments.
Members must understand and appreciate that when action is taken by an enforcing agency, it is not possible or prudent for the Society to get involved other than to await the conclusion of the investigation.
There is however provision within the Society’s Articles for Council to take action should a member be convicted of cruelty to an animal.
Article 4 b) (TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP) - Notwithstanding the foregoing, if it is established to the satisfaction of the Council upon receipt of a certified memorandum of conviction that a Member has been convicted before a court of law of any offence of cruelty toward an Animal, then that Member shall be expelled or suspended from Membership of the Charity forthwith, reprimanded or cautioned and the Charity shall not be required to adopt the procedure set out in article 4a(iv) above.
Council of the Society meets next on the 9thDecember 2013.
Anna L. Prytherch, Principal Officer