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THE WCB VISION

SELF POLICED ‘WILDLIFE CARE’ REGULATION FROM WITHIN THE WILDLIFE RESCUE/REHABILITATION COMMUNITY

 

As the Wildlife Rescue Industry is unregulated in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, whenever a member of the public takes a wildlife casualty to a Wildlife Rescue or Rehabber, they can't know in advance - unless it is one of the few very large centres - whether they are dropping that animal off at the welfare equivalent of a hospital or a horror shop.  The Wildlife Care Badge wants to change all that... 

 

OUR GOAL

 

The Wildlife Care Badge is about placing ‘wildlife rights’ at the heart of wildlife rehabilitation efforts.

Our 'goal' (around which all of our work revolves) is that...

 

All wildlife casualties across the UK are helped/treated/served in such a way as to align with these basic rights...

 

- The right to only be taken (to lose their power and independence) into a Rescue/Vets Practice when it is strictly necessary in order to try and save them or because they will not survive without intervention or because they will have a terrible death when a kinder, easier death could be offered.

 

- The right to only be treated by someone (be that a Rescue or an independent Rehabber) who has suitable premises and a minimum level of knowledge to offer a high welfare environment and to give that wildlife casualty/orphan the greatest chance possible to survive/get better/grow into an adult (this necessitates a Rescue/Rehabber having either Vets on site or a good working relationship with a local Vet). 

 

- The right to be treated as an individual creature and a unique case (just like we humans always expect to be treated by our hospitals and doctors) - seeing what treatment suits them as an individual, giving them every chance possible - with only their welfare in mind.

 

OUR PLAN

 

The WCB is a collective of Vet Professionals and Wildlife Rescues/Rehabbers who united together to develop some self regulation for UK Wildlife Rescues/Rehabbers, to ensure that wildlife casualties across the UK receive the right medical care, in high welfare Rescue Centres.

 

The WCB is established 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.  We hope 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.

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.

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