New animal welfare measures welcomed, but reintroduction of tail-docking is a “bitter pill” to swallow
OneKind has today (Thursday 11 May) welcomed the announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP of the introduction of a bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and a package of further measures meant to improve the welfare of Scotland’s animals.
Libby Anderson, OneKind’s Policy Advisor, said:
“We are delighted to see the Scottish Government pushing ahead with a range of initiatives to improve animal welfare. The Scottish public overwhelmingly supports better animal protection, and with animal welfare standards fully devolved there is no reason why Scotland cannot lead the way with modern legislation. We hope that this announcement will mean that making progress on animal welfare is afforded the priority it deserves over the remainder of this Parliament”
“The promise of a crackdown on irresponsible pet breeding, and tougher penalties for animal welfare offences are particularly welcome. The trade in puppies is out of control, causing serious suffering for dogs caught up in the trade, whilst animal cruelty sentencing is simply inadequate. The current average fine for animal abuse of just £139 and the average community service period of 3 days. OneKind will be looking for a significant increase in these penalties alongside other measures to tackle the root causes of animal abuse.”
Whilst most of the measures in today’s package will improve welfare, OneKind continues to oppose the Scottish Government’s proposals to permit the “shortening” of the tails of spaniels and hunt point retrievers intended for use as working dogs. Furthermore, a review of the exotic pet trade, committed to by the Scottish Government in 2015, appears to have been dropped.
Libby Anderson commented:
“The inclusion of the reintroduction of tail docking for some puppies in this announcement is a bitter pill to swallow. Scotland led the UK by introducing a full tail docking ban for puppies in 2007. The introduction of exemptions for working dogs was uniformly opposed by veterinary and animal welfare organisations, but has been pursued regardless.”
“We are disappointed that the review of the growing exotic pet trade is not on the list of measures. We will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary to urge her to keep this critical animal welfare issue on the agenda.”
1. OneKind is a Scottish animal protection charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals.
2. The announcement was made by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, today (11 May 2016). The package of measures included:
i. Introduce measures to require the registration or licensing of animal shelters and rehoming activities
ii. Update regulations governing the licensing of dog, cat and rabbit breeding and dealing, including the irresponsible breeding and sale of these animals
iii. Introduce tight controls restricting the use of electronic training collars
iv. Review the penalties available for animal welfare offences
v. Lay legislation permitting vets to shorten the tails of spaniels and hunt point retrievers intended for use as working dogs to reduce the number of tail injuries suffered.
3. OneKind’s report on the Scottish Government proposal to reintroduce tail docking can be found here.
4. In 2015 Richard Lochhead MSP, the then Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, committed to a review of trade and importation of exotic animals as pets. https://news.gov.scot/news/review-of-exotic-pet-trade
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