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Ready, set and take action – help us call for greyhound racing to end in Wales



The RSPCA – along with Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales – has now launched a new campaign, #CutTheChase, to call for an end to greyhound racing in Wales. Supporters are encouraged to call on their five Members of the Senedd to show their support of phasing out greyhound racing and to call on the Welsh Government to act.

Wales is one of only 10 countries in the world where greyhound racing still takes place – alongside England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Vietnam and the USA.

The call for greyhound racing to be phased out in Wales, and across the wider UK, comes following comprehensive internal reviews conducted by the Dogs Trust, RSPCA and Blue Cross. This process highlighted serious concerns at every stage of a racing greyhound’s life including issues around inadequate welfare standards in kennelling and transporting the dogs. 

RSPCA head of companion animals in England and Wales, Dr Samantha Gaines, said: “We, along with Dogs Trust and Blue Cross, have been, as part of the Greyhound Forum, working with the greyhound racing industry for many years to try to improve conditions for the dogs involved in the sport.

“While this has led to some improvements, the three charities believe there are still significant welfare issues for racing greyhounds which have not, and cannot, be resolved.

“The charities want to put a stop to the unnecessary and completely preventable deaths of hundreds of dogs every year across the UK.

“We need everyone who cares about greyhound welfare to tell their Members of the Senedd how important this issue is to them. We hope every voice will be heard.”

The five charities behind the campaign want to see an intention to end greyhound racing announced immediately, and expect the phase-out to take around five years to allow the racing industry and animal welfare organisations to carefully plan and coordinate the care of the many dogs affected.

However, in Wales, there is only one greyhound track – an independent, “flapping” racecourse – meaning the phase out period needed will likely be significantly shorter.

In Wales, unlike in England, there are currently no greyhound-specific legal protections for racing greyhounds. However, the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales and Trefnydd has said the future of greyhound racing is something she is looking at “very seriously” – and has asked her officials to look at the feasibility of ending the activity in Wales; boosting hopes that the nation can join a majority of countries in the world where greyhound racing is already not permitted.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB)* is the self-regulating organisation that governs licensed greyhound racing in Great Britain.  Data from GBGB show that over 2,000 greyhounds died and nearly 18,000 injuries were recorded from greyhound racing between 2018 and 2021**. The Valley greyhound track at Ystrad Mynach is an independent track, not governed by GBGB. Therefore, any dogs that have died or were injured at that track are not included in these figures. 

The true number of injuries in Wales is difficult to know, due to there being no vet at the track and no requirement to publish the number of injuries or deaths.

Data from Hope Rescue demonstrates that Wales is, too often, the final stop for unwanted, injured and poorly performing racing greyhounds from Ireland and England. Between 2018 and 2021, Hope Rescue’s Amazing Greys project helped over 200 racing greyhounds. Of these dogs, 40 endured serious, career-ending injuries. These included severe fractures needing significant vet care, amputation or orthopaedic repair.

Chris Sherwood, RSPCA chief executive, added: “It’s shocking that more than one dog a day is dying in the UK due to racing, which our review has determined is inherently unsafe and compromises their welfare at almost every stage of their lives; it simply isn’t acceptable. 

“We’ve tried to work with the industry over the years to bring in better protection and improve welfare for the dogs but we’re not satisfied that enough progress has been made. 

“We feel that now, moving forwards, the only way we can secure good lives for these dogs is to call for the sport to be phased out and we want to see greyhound racing consigned to the past. 

“While Wales currently does not have any additional legal protections for greyhounds, we’ve been really encouraged by a strong indication from the Welsh Government that they may be prepared to work with the animal welfare sector and act.

“Only 10 countries in the world – including all four UK nations – still allow greyhound racing – and we feel the evidence is clear; and to better protect greyhounds, we need to see this activity phased out in Wales as soon as possible.”

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Changes to bus services in Ceredigion confirmed by local authority



THERE will be changes to local bus services in Ceredigion from Tuesday 3 January 2023.

The tenders received as part of a procurement process for operating several services have shown significant cost increases. This has resulted in substantial increases in subsidy levels being requested at a time when public finances are under tremendous pressure. The higher costs are largely reflective of particular challenges affecting the bus industry currently which includes considerable increased operating costs, lack of qualified and available drivers, uncertainty around future funding mechanisms as well as declining passenger numbers and changing travel behaviours.

Bus passenger numbers have been in decline across Wales and essentially halved in the period between 1982, where there were 181 million passenger journeys and 2019/20 where there were 91 million passenger journeys. This has been severely compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw a drop to 26 million passenger journeys in 2020/21, that has further impacted on the viability of local bus services.

The 22T (Aberystwyth-Devil’s Bridge), 27T (Penrhyncoch-Penbontrhydybeddau) and T29 (Tregaron Circular) demand responsive services will stop at the end of December 2022. This is due to the significant costs associated with providing them and the very low level of usage, which equate to unviable levels of public subsidy per passenger journey.

There will be changes to the timetables on the 525 (Aberystwyth-Ponterwyd), 526 (Aberystwyth-Penrhyncoch) and 585 (Aberystwyth-Tregaron-Lampeter) services. The timetables for these services, subject to submission by the operators and approval by the Traffic Commissioner, are attached. These timetables are based on proposals provided by the local bus operators and reflect what is operationally deliverable with the resources available, in terms of buses and drivers, at this time.

The T21 (Aberystwyth-Llanafan-Tregaron) and 552 Cardi Bach (New Quay-Cardigan) services will continue as currently.

All these contracts have been awarded on a 6 month basis to allow for a wider review.

Councillor Keith Henson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management said: “I would like to thank the local bus companies for their ongoing engagement in what is very challenging operating environment. We continue to work with them and in partnership with the other key stakeholders including the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales, seeking possible solutions and a way forward. Bus services and networks are dynamic and subject to change. Further changes are likely as the reality is that, in addition to the sparsity of resources, the amount of subsidy now required to provide the services is unaffordable, unjustifiable and unsustainable in the current financial climate.”

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Urgent police appeal for missing Ceredigion man



POLICE in Ceredigion are appealing for help to find Dyfed who is missing from the Talybont area.

He was last seen at his home address in the Ceredigion village at around 10.30pm or 11pm on Saturday, 3 December.

Dyfed is described as being 5ft 10ins, of medium build, with short mousey brown hair with short ginger beard, and was wearing grey waterproof trousers over jeans, a blue-check padded shirt and woolly hat and wellies.

Have you seen Dyfed, or do you have info that might help us find him? Please, let us know:

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New Rural Health Economics Professor builds on University healthcare provision



AN ACADEMIC who played a key role in decision-making in the adoption of medicines in NHS Wales and NHS England has been appointed as Professor of Rural Health Economics at Aberystwyth University.

Professor Murray Smith, an expert in the use of economics and statistics to predict outcomes in health and health-related behaviours, joins Aberystwyth Business School.

His recent research has centred on the quality of use of pharmaceutical medicine, with one project exploring the use of an inhaled analgesic for acute pre-hospital trauma pain, and others on topics that have spanned medicine use across a number of chronic disease areas.

After beginning his career in Australia, Professor Smith moved to the United Kingdom in 2007 and has worked at the universities of Aberdeen, Nottingham and Lincoln.

Professor Smith said: “I am delighted to join Aberystwyth Business School. Health economics is a vital subject because it provides methods and tools to help decision makers in the choices they face when trying to deliver high quality healthcare in a modern resource-limited economy.

“I am excited about adding to Aberystwyth Business School’s existing portfolio of expertise in research and to being given the opportunity to continue to use my skills to help the NHS to identify and deliver cost-effective healthcare and services to the people of mid Wales.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “It is vital as a society that we continue to innovate in our approaches to healthcare and Aberystwyth University is stepping up to the challenge with the launch of our first ever nursing degrees in September 2022 and through interdisciplinary research into combating diseases, using artificial intelligence to improve patients’ health, and exploring new techniques to improve human health through diet.

“The appointment of Professor Smith demonstrates our continuing commitment to developing and delivering high quality healthcare education and research at Aberystwyth. His expertise will focus on the economic aspects of healthcare, and his teaching and research will benefit our students and beyond.”

Professor Smith’s appointment coincides with the awarding of Honorary Professorships to three executives from Hywel Dda University Health Board, further strengthening Aberystwyth University’s expertise in healthcare as well as building on its partnership with the local health board.

Dr Helen Munro, Consultant in Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare at the Board; Dr Leighton Phillips, the Board’s Director of Research, Innovation and University Partnerships, and Huw Thomas, its Director of Finance collectively have decades of expertise in the health sector in the United Kingdom.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the Board I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Helen, Leighton and Huw on their appointment as Honorary Professors at Aberystwyth University. Our partnership with Aberystwyth University continues to go from strength to strength and we look forward to continuing our vital work together in the future.”
Professor Elizabeth Treasure added: “I am delighted to welcome our new Honorary Professors, who together will bring decades of experience to our research and teaching. Their expertise will further contribute to the role we have to play as a University in helping improve healthcare provision for everyone.”

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