New Charter has Animal Protection at its Heart
A new welfare charter has been developed to help better protect animals across South Tyneside, councillors will hear next week.
The proposed Animal Protection Charter sets out the Council's statutory responsibilities relating to animals as well as a commitment to promote and uphold standards of animal welfare.
Council members will be asked to endorse the Charter when they meet next Thursday (12 January).
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "We know that animal welfare is an important issue for our residents. Animals play a vital role in our environment, our ecosystems, our lives and our health and wellbeing and we must do what we can to protect them.
"While the charter doesn't cover every aspect of animal welfare, it does include the issues we consider to be important and looks at what more we can do as a Council beyond our minimum statutory duties."
The Charter reflects national legislation and the powers and duties of councils regarding animal protection. It also considers local insights and Borough specific issues, from coastal birds and marine life to the motion against the use of animals as prizes on Council owned land, which was agreed by Cabinet in September 2021. The Council has also adjusted its approach to the use of live animals in events.
The Council is committed to do more to educate residents and businesses and encourage them to play their part through various campaigns. These range from littering and the harmful impact it has on wildlife to the importance of the public not feeding horses, as well as responsible animal ownership, to name a few.
The Council also continues to promote alternative ways to commemorate a life instead of memorial balloon releases, which are not encouraged due to the danger the fallen balloons pose to wildlife.
Councillor Atkinson added: "We are a Council that cares about animals.
"This Charter not only builds on the positive work we have already done to support animals, but underlines our commitment to help keep animals safe, promote animal protection and responsible ownership, while still meeting our legal obligations.
"By endorsing this Charter, we would be making a clear commitment to animal safety. It is also something we would be looking to develop further in future with partner organisations."
The Charter has been developed through engagement with North East Animal Rights (NEAR), which is holding up South Tyneside's draft Charter as an example of best practice to help shape work in other areas.
It has also been created in consultation with a range of departments from Environmental Health and Licensing to the Council's countryside and environment teams, which support and protect biodiversity.
A cross-service working group will help to oversee the delivery of the charter and to ensure shared learning and co-ordination across the Council.
The next meeting of Borough Council takes place on Thursday 12 January 2023, at 6pm, in the Council Chamber at South Shields Town Hall.