horse_rescueThe Countryside Alliance has raised concerns with Welsh Government over the recent decision by North Wales Fire and Rescue Services to opt out of emergency calls to large animals.

Calling for an urgent meeting with Ministers, the Alliance has sought to begin discussions to find a balance in services so that the welfare of large animals, particularly, is not compromised. The North Wales Fire & Rescue Service has taken this decision as part of a cost-cutting exercise. 

Rachel Evans, Countryside Alliance director for Wales, said: “It is extremely worrying that this resource will no longer be available in North Wales after April 2015 and there are serious concerns for animal welfare surrounding their decision.

“I completely understand the need for a line to be drawn, as I have read about some of the incidences attended in the past twelve months that could be considered by some to be a waste of this valuable resource. However, there will be incidents where by the fire and rescue service are realistically the only service that can assist due to their equipment and expertise. Their attendance undoubtedly reduces the suffering of animals and can save lives.

“The Fire and Rescue Service is without a doubt there to serve the human population of Wales first and foremost but I am extremely concerned that there will be prolonged suffering and in some cases possible neglect, if large animal rescue is completely withdrawn. North Wales has been the first service to rule as such, however this decision is likely to be followed by other service providers across Wales.

“We have seen incidences of animals been rescued from flooded fields, cattle rescued from overturned lorries and horses from flooded ditches, even from a frozen lake at Llyn Maelog. Without the Fire and Rescue Services these animals would not have survived.”

Rachel Evans has written to both the Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews and the Deputy Minister for Farming & Food, Rebecca Evans and is awaiting their response.