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Animals 'at risk' from welfare legislation delays
"It’s time for the new Government to prove to the public that it takes animal welfare seriously" - Claire Horton, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Charity calls upon election candidates to address 12 animal welfare issues

“Disappointing delays” to important animal welfare legislation are putting animals at risk, a leading animal charity has warned.

The warning from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home comes after The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill fell for the second time, as parliament dissolves ahead of December’s General Election. The Bill would increase maximum jail sentences for the worst acts of animal cruelty from six months to five years.

Battersea chief executive, Claire Horton, said: “Battersea knows Parliament is wrestling with some of the most pressing issues facing our nation. But improving animal welfare is one thing the country agrees on.

“This Bill has been backed by every major political party and animal welfare organisation, has the support of tens of thousands of members of the general public, and has made its way through much of the parliamentary process already. It will change the future for abused and neglected animals across England and Wales, which, even now, still have the lowest cruelty sentences in Europe. Despite all this, the Bill has been dropped yet again.

She continued: “The country and our animals have waited long enough – it’s time for the new Government to prove to the public that it takes animal welfare seriously and passing this long-promised, virtually uncontested Bill is just the start.”

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is seeking views from members of the public about what they think MPs should focus on following the General Election. A survey lists 12 animal welfare issues that the charity believes the new Government should be addressing, including cruelty sentencing, brachycephalic dog breeding and Breed Specific Legislation.

Claire added: “Animals can’t speak for themselves, so we need to be their voice. Animal lovers everywhere are supporting us in this fight and are calling upon parliamentary candidates to do the same.

“It’s in our hands to make a difference and we want the public to once again, remind the Government what they should be prioritising on behalf of animals across England and Wales.”

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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News Shorts
BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.