The RSPCA has said livestock farmers who find themselves struggling to deal with animals caught up in snow and ice can call for assistance from the organisation.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning that the north of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and western England could see snow and ice before the end of Tuesday (19 November).

The charity said with treacherous conditions on the way it wanted to reassure farmers help was at hand and encourage them to make extra preparations in case it takes a sudden turn for the worse.

“The extreme cold and bad weather can have a massive impact on farm animals. We are committed to doing everything we can to assist them farmers and their animals,” said Dermot Murphy, RSPCA chief inspector.

“While farmers can go to heroic lengths to protect their animals, even the most prepared and resilient can be taken by surprise by sudden extreme conditions.”

This included situations where farmers were unable to reach animals to feed them, power cuts to intensive units and difficulties getting feed delivered, he added.

The offer of assistance to farmers is likely to be interpreted by some as the RSPCA attempting to build bridges with the farming community following heated exchanges over the policy of badger culling to control TB.

The RSPCA has been one of the most vocal opponents to culling and has run a high-profile “stop the cull” campaign, which included advertising in major newspapers.

For help and advice, farmers are urged to call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 123 4999.

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