Leading animal protection charity OneKind has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitments to animal welfare in the year ahead. At the same time, the charity points out the need for further work in some areas.
In the full programme for government 2018/19, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP pledged to establish an Animal Welfare Commission to provide expert advice on the welfare of domesticated and wild animals in Scotland to ensure high standards of welfare are maintained after Brexit.
Libby Anderson, Policy Advisor to OneKind, commented:
“We strongly support the Scottish Government’s decision to create an Animal Welfare Commission and we look forward to the appointment of well-qualified independent experts to provide evidence-based advice based on modern scientific concepts of animal welfare. In particular, OneKind hopes this body will ensure that policy and legislation take account of the fact that animals are sentient individuals, with specific welfare needs. It is welcome that the remit includes wild animal welfare, which is often overlooked.
“Matters such as animal sentience and the live export of animals have been thrown into the spotlight due to Brexit – we’re confident that Scottish voters want to see their government take a progressive approach to these issues.”
With reference to the proposal for increased sentences, Libby added:
“The Scottish Government committed last year to increasing maximum sentences for animal cruelty to five years’ imprisonment, and it is important that sentencing reform is still on the agenda. In particular, there has been huge public concern about ensuring justice when working animals, such as police dogs, are attacked. OneKind’s position is that all welfare offences are equally serious, regardless of the status of the victim, but we do believe that attacks on any service animals should be classed as aggravated offences. These animals do a lot for people and we owe them an additional duty of care.”
A package of other measures includes:
- Introduction of compulsory video recording of slaughter in abattoirs
- Updating Farm Animal Welfare Codes
- Allowing animals taken into the protection of the Scottish SPCA or local authorities to be rehomed more quickly and effectively than at present
- Increase sentences for the worst types of animal cruelty, including attacks on police dogs, under the initiative known as ‘Finn’s Law’
- Progressing work to introduce and reform licensing of animal activities including animal sanctuaries, rehoming centres, breeding and the use of animals in public display or performance.
OneKind is particularly pleased to see the introduction of compulsory video recording of slaughter in abattoirs. This will bring Scotland in line with England which introduced similar legislation earlier this year.
Last year, over 10,000 people signed a petition from OneKind, Animal Aid and political activists calling for CCTV to be introduced in all areas of all slaughterhouses in Scotland.
Sarah Moyes, OneKind Campaigner said:
“OneKind has long campaigned for the introduction of CCTV in Scottish abattoirs and we’re delighted to see it included in this year’s Programme for Government. CCTV plays a critical role in detecting and deterring animal abuse and welfare issues and provides a safeguard for both animals and staff. We want to be reassured, however, that this measure will cover all areas of slaughterhouses where live animals are present. “
No announcements have been made on the ongoing review of the foxhunting legislation, or the mounting concern about welfare in the aquaculture industry, which is being examined by Scottish Parliament committees. OneKind will continue to press for reform in these areas.
Notes to editor:
- OneKind is Scotland’s leading animal campaigns charity working to end cruelty to Scotland’s animals. OneKind works to expose cruelty and persecution through investigations and research covering Scotland’s wildlife, farm animals and pets. Find out more about our work at onekind.scot
- The programme for government 2018-2019 can be viewed here.
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