A YouGov poll commissioned by the new election coalition campaign group, More for Scotland’s Animals, has revealed that Scots want to see the Scottish Parliament implement stronger measures to protect Scotland’s animals.
So, what exactly do they want to see improved?
84% of Scots are in support of strengthening the regulation and enforcement of welfare standards in the pet trade (including breeders and online sales). This comes as Scottish SPCA have reported an increase in illegal puppy sales and trading during the pandemic. We have long campaigned for stronger welfare standards for the pet trade and have included several asks to improve the trade in our 2021 manifesto.
63% want to see the inclusion of lessons about animal welfare and behaviour on the Scottish national curriculum. This should begin with school children; the educational workshops offered by the Scottish SPCA offer an excellent example of what is possible. Adult education should also be provided and include measures targeted at specific welfare gains such as, for example, a code of practice to be followed by anybody considering acquiring an animal.
72% support a ban on the use of aversive training devices for pets, such as electric shock collars, sonic collars and spray collars. We have worked hard for years to get these cruel training devices banned. A successful amendment to the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) Act 2020 means that every five years when Scottish Ministers are reviewing the Act they must consider whether a ban on shock collars should be included in the legislation.
76% of Scots want to see a ban on the use of snares. Snares are cruel traps that are set to catch animals such as foxes and rabbits and are often set on driven grouse moors to target predators to the grouse. Although these traps are targeted towards the red grouse predators, such as foxes and stoats, these traps are indiscriminate and can cause suffering to non-target species, such as companion dogs, cats and badgers, too. Our petition to ban traps and snares is currently being considered by the Scottish Government.
72% support a complete fox hunting ban.The Scottish Government has previously committed to reforming Scotland’s fox hunting legislation to make it more effective and enforceable. While flushing by dogs will still be permitted, it proposes to restrict the number of dogs to two, except under licence. We will be urging the government not to license any packs of dogs- wild animals need protection from unnecessary suffering.
67% support a ban of the use of farrowing crates for sows. Farrowing crates are crates where pregnant sows are placed a week before her pregnancy and then for 3-4 weeks, thereafter. The cages are severely restrict movement and pigs placed in them cannot walk, turn around or move if their piglets bite them while feeding. We have been campaigning to #EndTheCageAge with 170 other animal welfare organisations across Europe since 2018.
What is clear from the results of the YouGov poll is that Scots expect the incoming Scottish Parliament to prioritise animal welfare in the next session. Voters will be considering companion, wild and farmed animal welfare when they take to the ballot box this Spring.
More for Scotland’s Animals campaign coalition
The More for Scotland’s Animals campaign aims to raise the profile of animal welfare in Scotland and amongst MSPs. The campaign is being run by ten of the leading animal welfare organisations ahead of the 2021 Scottish elections, and urges candidates to pledge to do more for Scotland’s animals if elected to the Scottish Parliament. The animal welfare organisations that form the coalition are: Battersea Dog & Cats Home, Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Compassion in World Farming, Dogs Trust, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, League Against Cruel Sports, OneKind, PDSA, UK Centre for Animal Law (A-law).
“We are delighted to have formed the More for Scotland’s Animals campaign group to encourage MSPs to pledge to do more for Scotland’s animals. Animals play a key role in society, and the public care deeply about how they are treated, whether they are farmed, wild or companion animals. We look forward to working with the incoming Parliament and Government to make Scotland a better place for animals.” – OneKind Director, Bob Elliot
In the upcoming months we will be encouraging candidate MSPs to take part in a series of actions to pledge their commitment to animal welfare.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,055 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 10th November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scotland