WITH a period of prolonged cold weather forecast for the next fortnight, the Welsh Assembly Government is reminding farmers and other animal owners of their responsibilities during periods of severe weather.

The chief veterinary officer for Wales, Dr Christianne Glossop said: “It is vitally important that animal owners and keepers take any action appropriate to ensure steps to protect their welfare and prevent suffering.

“Famers should be ensuring livestock is protected from the severe weather and that food and water is available. Farmers will be best placed to identify and source feed and water for their animals, for example by co-operating with neighbours if supplies run short or access is difficult.

“Those with pets kept outside, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, should keep drinking water free of ice and consider moving them into garages or sheds to provide additional warmth.

“As with farmed livestock, horses and ponies usually kept outside during the winter should have access to shelter at all times and a regular provision of feed and water ensured. Where such provision is inadequate, owners should consider moving the animals or permanently stabling in the interim period.

“Water supplies for all horses and ponies should be checked regularly and alternatives sources supplied if mains failure occurs. In an emergency you should contact the RSPCA for help and advice.”

More information can be found at the Welsh Assembly Government’s website, www.wales.gov.uk/animalwelfare.

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