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A consultation on proposals to strengthen how animal activities are regulated in Wales, which will improve animal welfare has been published today.

First published:
8 December 2023
Last updated:

A number of animal activities are currently not regulated, or regulations are no longer fit for purpose. 

Strengthening such licensing would enhance and protect animal welfare, with a statutory licensing scheme setting minimum standards which all licence holders would need to comply with, underpinned by an inspection regime

The Licensing of Animal Welfare Establishments, Activities and Exhibits consultation marks the first phase of the development of a National Model to improve welfare standards and is a Programme for Government commitment.

Areas which are currently not licensed include animal rescues and sanctuaries, dog walking and grooming services, and dog play parks, amongst others.

In light of the significant public interest in the welfare of racing greyhounds, the consultation gives consideration to the possibility of licensing owners, keepers and trainers of racing dogs such as greyhounds.  It also includes a request for evidence to justify or negate consideration of a phased ban on dog racing in future. 

The intention at this stage is to seek public opinion on a range of areas identified, to progress policy and develop future proposals.  Any future licensing regimes in the areas identified would be subject to further public consultation, prior to implementation.

Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said:

Our long-term ambition in Wales is for all animals to have a good life.  A National Model for the regulation of animal welfare will help bring us closer to this goal.

The licensing of animal-related activities would ensure the health and welfare of the animals involved is considered at all times, driving improvements in standards of keeping and enabling better enforcement in those instances where things go wrong.

A great deal of work has been carried out ahead of this consultation to identify the activities which are currently unlicensed, and where there are gaps in current arrangements.

I know greyhound racing remains a hot issue and the consultation fulfils my commitment to the Petitions Committee in including a question on potential licensing for owners, keepers and trainers of racing dogs, and seeking submissions of evidence for or against consideration of a potential phased ban in future.  There are strong views on all sides, and this consultation will help us to assess and consider  all potential actions and build a crucial evidence base before  any conclusions are drawn.  Any future regulatory measures or changes must be assessed on evidence and would be subject to further consultation.

The 12- week consultation is available here: Licensing of animal welfare establishments, activities and exhibits.