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Petition calls for shooting ban

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screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-14-29-06LEADING animal protection group Animal Aid has launched an online petition calling on the Welsh Government to ban shooting on Welsh public land. 

The petition, which is hosted on Animal Aid’s new microsite (www.animalaid.org.uk/nrw), comes in response to growing public outrage about Wales’ environmental protection agency, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), leasing areas of public land for the ‘sport shooting’ of pheasants.

The petition reads:

‘We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to ensure that Natural Resources Wales, as the Welsh Government-Sponsored Body responsible, stops leasing out public land to commercial shooting operations.

NRW’s key constitutional function is to act as an environmental steward of the land that it manages on behalf of the Welsh Government and citizens.

‘But leasing this land to shooting operations negatively impacts on conservation, biodiversity and animal welfare.

‘Shooting also pollutes the land with toxic lead shot which is responsible for poisoning and killing many animals.

‘NRW’s shooting leases facilitate an activity that is abhorrent to many Welsh citizens: the killing of animals for ‘sport’. The leases also mean that public access to land that is owned by Welsh citizens can be restricted.

In October 2015, a well-placed source informed Animal Aid that NRW intended to rent out some of its land in Myherin for the ‘sport shooting’ of pheasants.

As a result of several Freedom of Information requests, Animal Aid learned that at least five other parcels of land managed by NRW are already rented out for shooting.

While NRW did not initiate these shoot agreements – one or more predecessor bodies was responsible – NRW could have wound down the operations, rather than expanding them.

Media exposure of NRW’s shooting agreements, as well as public pressure on the agency and Welsh Assembly members, have resulted in NRW announcing it will conduct a review into whether it should continue to allow recreational shooting on its estate.

Animal Aid has insisted that it is vital that NRW allows independent experts, interested parties, and the public as stakeholders to participate in the review process.

Fiona Pereira, Animal Aid Campaign Manager, said: “Animal Aid’s petition calls for an end to ‘sport shooting’ on public land. That land belongs to the people of Wales and they have every right to determine how it is used.

“We are heartened that Natural Resources Wales is to conduct a review into this issue because we believe that a properly conducted, independent and stakeholder-inclusive review should come to the conclusion that shooting should be banned on Welsh public land. The majority of people abhor the killing of animals for pleasure and it is high time that NRW ceases leasing publicly-owned land for shooting and instead uses it for projects that are positive, educational and enhance the environment.”

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Man denies £7,000 burglary

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A MAN from West Sussex has today denied carrying out a £7,000 burglary in Lampeter.

Kurtis Poat, aged 23, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Paul Thomas.

Poat, of Osborne Crescent, Chichester, denied breaking into a house in Nantyglyn, Cwmann, in May, 2017, and stealing a tin containing £7,000 in cash.

Poat faces a two day trial scheduled to begin on April 11 and was granted bail until then.

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Campaigners urge air gun licensing following cat shootings

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CATS PROTECTION is urging the UK’s cat lovers to join a call on the Westminster government to introduce air gun licensing in Wales and England, following in the footsteps of Scotland and Northern Ireland where it is illegal to own air weapons without licence.

The government is currently holding a public consultation into air weapon regulation, including licensing, which closes on February 6, making this the ideal time for cat lovers to make their voices heard by sending an e-mail to the Home Office.

To take part people should visit www.cats.org.uk/airgunsconsultation where they can adapt and send the e-mail. People can also watch a video showing some of the feline victims of air gun shootings, which some may find upsetting.

Victims of air gun shootings include Jalapeno, a black-and-white cat from Bridgend who was shot in the eye, and Chaos, a black-and-white cat from South Wales who was shot between her eyes, shattering the bones in her nose.

Luckily both Jalapeno and Chaos survived their injuries after receiving emergency veterinary care.

However, in March 2017, a cat from Barry was fatally shot, as was a cat from Llanell in August 2017.

“Shocking air gun attacks like the ones on Jalapeno and Chaos are by no means rare,” explains Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations.

“Our monitoring of UK press reports shows that three cats are killed or injured by an air gun each week and this is likely to be an underestimate because most attacks are never witnessed or reported. Worse still, over 90% of these shootings take place in Wales and England where it is legal for anyone over 18 to purchase an air gun and ammunition without the need for a licence.

“These attacks cause immense pain and suffering to cats as well as anguish for their owners and fear in their local communities for the safety of people and pets.”

Cats Protection believes that if licensing were introduced, it would be easier to track down culprits who use these weapons to inflict harm on cats.

The charity wants to ensure that cats in Wales and England are fully protected. Those who have a legitimate reason to purchase, possess and use an air gun will be able to retain ownership and would simply need to apply for a licence.

Jacqui added: “Last year over 90,000 people signed an online and paper Cats Protection petition calling for the licensing of air guns in Wales and England, showing the depth of public feeling on the issue. Our hope is that as many people as possible email the government in support of air gun licensing so that we can make the whole of the UK a safer place for cats, animals and human beings.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 190,000 cats each year through a national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.

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Police crack down on drink and drug driving

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NEARLY 100 people were arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police for drink and drug driving in December, as a result of the All Wales Christmas Anti Drink and Drug Drive Campaign.

The month-long operation against driving under the influence ran from Friday, December 1, and police forces across the country used intelligence-led tactics and local knowledge of hotspots to detect people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the festive period.

98 people were arrested by Dyfed-Powys Police.

Supt. Huw Meredith, Specialist Operations, said: “We adopt a proactive, targeted and intelligence-led approach to drink and drug driving, using specialist Roads Policing resources and response officers.

“The number of arrests indicates that sadly some are prepared to risk the lives of others and themselves by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Our message is the same all year round – don’t drink/take drugs and drive.”

In 2017 Dyfed-Powys Police arrested 452 people for drink and drug driving.

Operation Snap also launched in December, allowing members of the public throughout Wales to submit footage and images showing traffic offences being committed – from driving dangerously or carelessly to contravening solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving or ignoring traffic lights.

To submit footage to any of the four Welsh Police Forces, visit https://gosafesnap.wales/ or https://gosafesnap.cymru.

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