Campaigners' Call to Seize Ill Lambs; SHEEP: Welfare Group Threatens to Take Animals Away for Veterinary Care

Article excerpt

Byline: SHEILA COLEMAN

ANIMAL welfare campaigners have said they may remove from farmland lambs or sheep deemed to be in difficulty and take them away for veterinary attention over the coming weeks.

The Wales Alliance Against Cruel Sports has asked all its members and affiliated organisations to report any signs of distress in animals during the lambing season to the organisation's Cardiff headquarters.

If felt necessary, the observer may remove the animal and take it to a vet. The veterinary bills will then be submitted for settlement to the National Farmers' Union Cymru and Farmers' Union of Wales.

"WAACS does not consider it our job to attempt to identify the animals' owner for permission to seek veterinary advice or treatment. We have tried this in the past and been thwarted by farmers refusing to acknowledge ownership and refusing to arrange veterinary care, " said a spokesman.

Members have also been asked to record any sightings of animal carcasses from "winter die off".

"Removing the animals from fields, especially small lambs from their mothers, would cause more stress, " said FUW spokesman, Alan Morris, who called the suggestion "absolute nonsense" and questioned the ability of a member of the public to make an accurate diagnosis.

"How would they be qualified enough to detect what could be a simple strain which the farmer is already aware of?

"To suggest anybody can just go into a field and remove a lamb on a whim is theft.

"If they have anything to report there are proper ways of doing so.

They should first take it up with the farmer concerned and then find out whether he's sought veterinary advice.

"Anybody who takes a lamb or a sheep from a field is stealing."

NFU policy adviser Dafydd Jarrett said animal welfare is at the top of farmers' priorities, and they do all they can to care for their flocks.

"They have generations of experience in raising healthy lambs - to do so is in their economic interest after all - not to mention a natural affinity with animals which comes from choosing farming as a way of life. …