We need your help!

During our January Meeting , The Amphbian & Reptile Conservation Trust asked for our members’ help in recording the presence (or absence) of amphibians and reptiles in West Wales. The current level of data is very poor, but it is vital to effective monitoring species. If you’ve seen amphibians or reptiles in your area, then we need to let the ARC Trust know.

To record your sightings, go to arc.cofnod.org.uk, or http://www.recordpool.org.uk/ and fill in the online card. Alternatively, because some of our members don’t have great internet access, we’ve decided to print out some sighting recording cards and bring them along to meetings, you can fill in your sighting, and the committee will make sure they get passed along to the ARC Trust.

You’ll need the following information:

1. What species you’ve seen, ideally it would be good to know: age, (adult, juvenile, spawn/egg, dead), sex, number of specimens at any one time. If you’re not sure what you’ve seen then the ARC trust have put together identification guides which can be downloaded.

The Amphibian guide is available here:

http://www.arc-trust.org/advice/species-id/amphibians

The Reptile guides are available here:

http://www.arc-trust.org/advice/species-id/reptiles

2. Where you saw it, this doesn’t need to be accurate to within half an inch, but a postcode or grid reference is useful.

3. When you saw it (Again, this doesn’t need to be exact, if you saw a palmate newt in 1964, then that’s great, as the ARC Trust can report this as an historic sighting. If this is the case, please email the Arc Trust directly: mark.barber@arc-trust.org. Thanks in advance!

The Pig Idea!

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I’m sure that the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 is indelibly etched into your memory, but did you know that the first case was traced to a farm where unprocessed waste food was being fed to pigs? As a result Defra decided to make the following law:

“it is illegal to feed any pig any catering waste (including used cooking oil) from restaurants, kitchens (both household and central), and other catering facilities even if those establishments cater solely for vegetarians.” DEFRA, 2013

Now, some people think this approach is too heavy-handed, and would like to see the law changed. If you count yourself as one of these, then you need to know about ‘The Pig Idea’. The Pig Idea is a pressure group which has three main objectives

  1. Restore public confidence in the safe, efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly practice of feeding surplus food to pigs.
  2. Encourage more use of already legally permissible food waste as pig feed – for example, bread, dairy, fruit and vegetables that are unfit for human consumption – by raising awareness and understanding of this option amongst supermarkets, food businesses, Animal Health officials and pig farmers.
  3. Change European law to allow food waste including catering waste to be diverted for use as pig and chicken feed; and to introduce a robust legal framework for its safe processing and use to prevent the outbreak of animal diseases.

If this sounds of interest to you, then go and have a look at www.thepigidea.org.uk, and see what you can do to help.