We're happy to see a number of Scottish Government pledges on animal welfare, including to strengthen hunting legislation, improve conditions for farm animals and work with other UK administrations on the import and sale of products such as fur, put forward.
The Scottish Government has set out a series of commitments to review animal welfare legislation in its latest Programme for Government.
Before the end of the parliamentary term in 2025, Nicola Sturgeon has announced the Scottish Government’s intention to:
- Introduce a Bill this year to strengthen the law relating to the use of dogs to hunt and flush foxes and other wild mammals, implementing the majority of the recommendations of the independent report on the Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002, and introduce further measures such as preventing trail hunting.
- Work with other UK administrations on legislation to control exports of livestock and imports of dogs, modernise zoo licensing, and control import and sale of products that raise ethical concerns such as fur.
- Start consultation this year on proposals to improve animal transport legislation, and phase out cages for gamebirds and laying hens, and farrowing crates for pigs.
- Consult on legislation to extend the framework for licensing of activities involving animals, to new areas such as performing animals and animal care services
- Implement recent livestock worrying legislation which will come into force in November 2021.
Reacting to the announcement, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, our head of education, policy & research, said: “Animal welfare is a subject the vast majority of Scots care passionately about and it is great to see the Scottish Government recognises this through the significant number of items outlined in the latest Programme for Government.
“The Scottish Government has made great strides in animal welfare in recent years. Many of the items outlined by the Scottish Government must become a reality if we are to truly be a global leader in animal welfare.
“Foxhunting and all other forms of bloodsport should be consigned to history, and we look forward to seeing the law strengthened in relation to the use of dogs to hunt and flush wild animals. It is vital any amendments to existing hunting legislation remove the loopholes which have left grey areas which can and have been exploited.
“The Scottish SPCA has long been opposed to the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter and reviewing this, alongside the conditions gamebirds, hens and pigs are kept in, is important if we are to maintain high animal welfare standards on farms in a post-Brexit world.”
The First Minister also reiterated the Government’s commitment to reviewing the administration of powers to investigate wildlife crime in powers.
Gilly said: “We are delighted the Scottish Government has reiterated its commitment to considering whether the Scottish SPCA should be given extra legislative powers to investigate wildlife crime.
“The independent taskforce which will review this has been mooted for some time, and the pledge to ensure it reports by the end of 2022 will give much-needed clarity on where we stand. The Scottish SPCA has the expertise and the will to prevent and investigate crimes against wildlife.”