THE WCB VISION
SELF POLICED ‘WILDLIFE CARE’ REGULATION FROM WITHIN THE WILDLIFE RESCUE/REHABILITATION COMMUNITY
The Wildlife Care Badge is about placing ‘animal rights’ at the heart of animal welfare efforts AND about putting specific emphasis on the rights of wildlife casualties.
The WCB is a practical & immediate way to support & empower every Wildlife Rescue & Rehabber up to a minimum standard of care ASAP.
Rehabbers/Rescues/Wildlife Professionals care deeply about wildlife and yet some struggle for resources, accessible & affordable training and both emotional and financial support. In the end it only causes suffering for themselves & wildlife.
The WCB hopes to support wildlife rescues and rehabbers to provide the very best set up to fulfil their responsibilities and serve the wildlife casualties in their care.
The Badge hopes to help Wildlife Rescues and Rehabbers find the right balance between offering maximum well being to their resident casualties while still rehabilitating as many casualties as reasonably possible: always prioritising the needs of each individual animal in their care.
The WCB is being set up to empower Wildlife Rescues to be set up to a standard where they can treat wildlife casualties case by case, acknowledging & empathising with them (listening to them, for want of a better word) as individuals (with their own specific needs) that should be met as much as possible.
SUPPORTING WILDLIFE RESCUES & REHABBERS
Just as the crux of rehabbing seems to be finding the balance between offering high standards of environment and quality of care vs helping the highest reasonable number of casualties, so the WCB has sought to find a balance between supporting the well being of the Wildlife Rescues and Rehabbers themselves AS WELL as setting high welfare standards (that must be met and maintained) for all of the wildlife casualties in their care.
WHY IS THE 'WILDLIFE CARE BADGE' IMPORTANT?
Currently - without a minimum standard of care being set & agreed upon universally across the UK - the only way to try and prevent a Wildlife Rescue or Rehabber (who lacks experience or resources) from taking in casualties is to try and report them for investigation. This is rarely effective (purely due to limited resources) & it punishes those who care but who require training/resources, instead of empowering them.
HOW WILL IT WORK? HOW WILL THIS GET UK RESCUES/REHABBERS TO SET NATIONWIDE MINIMUM STANDARDS?
If enough Rescues/Rehabbers sign up for the WCB, it could start to become strange NOT to have it: so much so that SOCIAL/PEER PRESSURE could encourage Rescues/Rehabbers to sign up to it, thereby setting minimum (and in some cases, much higher) standards of wildlife care nationwide.
WHO ARE THE 'SELF-REGULATORS' BEHIND THE WCB?
Whilst we (the WCB developers) have created a structure in which to ask Rescues/Rehabbers to prove a level of knowledge and to ensure their premises are set up appropriately, the badges are effectively regulated by the current legislation. IF YOU ARE A RESCUE/REHABBER... Your Vets check your premises to make sure you're meeting welfare standards in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and that you're working within the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
(With regard to arranging with your vet to do this check: we can help you arrange it. We have put together some information for them - a check list and advice on what to look for on the premises and what to advise, if any changes need to be made, put together by a Wildlife Specialist Vet. This will be sent directly to them before the visit).
The standards/practices that all Badge Holders are expected to be aware of (and operate under) are based on the knowledge that all Rehabbers should have (all of the educational resources and recommended regulations that have already been created by experts). Some examples are...
BSAVA Manual of Wildlife Casualties (2nd Edition) / Defra Notifiable disease disinfectants list / Good Practice Guidelines for Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres / British Veterinary Zoological Society 2016 (open access) / Garden Wildlife Health Disease Fact Sheets / Introduction to Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Mullineaux E (Ed.) (2022) Secret World Wildlife Rescue / Practical Wildlife Care, Second Edition Les Stocker / Safe4 data (dilutions and contact times) / The Wildlife Trust (click on the links to read the legislation) UK Wildlife Law | The Wildlife Trusts / Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (legislation.gov.uk)
The Knowledge Assessment is written by a Wildlife Vet and questions are based only on fact and research and not opinions so there is either a right or wrong answer. The record keeping is effectively 'do you have this information (?)' so the answer to that is either yes or no. There will be a team of volunteers who go through the information but it's not marked on someone's interpretations, it's a very set 'yes or no' type thing.
HOW HAS IT BEEN DEVELOPED?
It was launched by me (Alana) and you can find out more about me and why I launched this effort, through our FAQs.
The WCB has been developed (with me only Project Managing it, all of the ideas and content came from Wildlife Professionals) through a uniting of Wildlife Experienced Vets, Small 'Home Premises' Rehabbers, larger Wildlife Rescue Centres, General Practice Vets and other Wildlife Professionals. For over a year there have been approximately 50hrs of Zoom meetings on every topic and revision after revision of the WCB as it has been created together, from those within the wildlife industry.
WHY DID WE SETTLE ON THIS FINAL VERSION OF THE WCB?
After much discussion, debate and back and forth of ideas and the exact language to use, we (those who have put in the most hours to develop the WCB) have published this first official version of the WCB. It's as perfect a starting point as we can hope for. After gaging the success of the WCB during 2022, at the end of the year we will take in comments and make any necessary changes to improve and publish 'WCB Version 2.'