With only one day left until the elections, we return to our OneKind manifesto and consider the progress that has been made on a few topics and see which of our ‘asks’ were included in party manifestos. You can see more detail about party commitments on animal welfare in our previous blog or watch our hustings to hear it straight from the MSPs themselves.
Sentience legislation, requiring Government to pay full regard to animal welfare
The UK Government will soon bring forward an Animal Sentience Bill but the current Scottish Government has yet to commit to do so. It has said that animal sentience is implicitly recognised in legislation, but that misses the crucial point that government should have to pay full regard to animal welfare when formulating and implementing policy.
Scottish Greens has said that the principle of animal sentience should be enshrined in law, and Scottish Labour said that Parliament should have to pay full regard to animal welfare when formulating and implementing policies.
Public education around companion animal mental health needs
There are no updates on this, but it is an important topic that we will continue to work towards. Our recent webinar on this topic will soon be available to watch on our YouTube channel.
Measure to discourage the breeding of animals with exaggerated features
Although this was not mentioned in any party manifestos, there are new licensing requirements due to come into force in Scotland later this year that will better regulate the breeding of companion animals – it is expected that they will include a restriction on breeding cats and dogs whose offspring could suffer due to exaggerated features.
Better regulation of breeding and sale of companion animals
New regulations will come into force later this year that will tighten up licensing of animal breeding and sales and introduce licensing for other activities such as rehoming. These will be a big improvement on the current situation, but there is still more work that can be done.
Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrats manifestos both have a commitment to tackle illegal pet imports.
Introduce a Positive List of species that are suitable to be kept as pets
This is a concept that is gaining traction in various EU countries – it was most recently introduced in Italy – but not yet here.
Scottish Labour manifesto says that we need to “ban imports of very young puppies, and other illegal pets not on the positive list of species that are suitable to keep as pets.”
Require wildlife ‘management’ to be based on an ethical framework
There are not any specific updates on this yet, but it is something that we are continuing to try to raise awareness of amongst decision makers.
The legislation around snaring will be reviewed this year by NatureScot. The last review, disappointingly, did not consider the option of an outright ban, but we will continue to make the case for it.
Scottish Labour and Scottish Greens both have manifesto commitments to ban snares.
Review the use of traps and consider banning certain types
The Scottish Government is considering a ban on sale of glue traps to the public. The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission has recommended banning them completely due to the immense suffering they cause, and OneKind and many others support this view. There is also pressure on the UK government to consider a ban on glue traps.
Our Parliamentary petition calling for a review of the welfare impacts of traps and snares was closed, in part due to the planned snaring review this year. We plan to raise the point again once the new Parliament begins and committees re-form, as we feel our request was not adequately addressed.
Scottish Greens party manifesto says they will ban Larson traps and glue traps, and on grouse moors also ban spring traps, cage traps, stink pits and the use of decoy birds.
Close the loopholes on the foxhunting ban
The Scottish Government’s plan to do this was delayed by the Covid pandemic but it has committed to doing so in the next session if re-elected. As well the SNP, Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour have committed to a ‘real’ foxhunting ban, and Scottish Liberal Democrats said they will review the legislation.
A full review of the licensing system for wild animal ‘management’
There has not been any progress on this issue. It was not mentioned specifically by any party, but Scottish Labour did say they “will carry out a full review of Scotland’s outdated animal welfare legislation, with a view to strengthening wildlife protection law and animal welfare.”
Promote alternatives to, and push for an end to, animal testing
There has been no progress on this, and it has not been mentioned in any manifestos. We are considering how best to influence leaders to prioritise this more.
Make Scotland a Good Food Nation
SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Greens have all said they will bring forward a Good Food Nation Bill, and the Scottish Liberal Democrats will consult on one.
End live exports
The UK government has announced an intention to ban live exports and the Scottish Government has more recently said it will work with the UK government towards this. Both governments also consulted on improvements in welfare during transport more generally.
Scottish Greens, SNP and Scottish Labour all committed to a live export ban in their manifestos.
End the cage age
The UK government is consulting on a ban of farrowing crates for sows, but the Scottish Government is yet to follow suit.
The SNP manifesto commits to ending cages for hens, and the Scottish Greens’ to ending cages for hens and sows.
Make CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses
This had been previously committed to by the Scottish Government but at the time we produced our manifesto it had not yet been confirmed. The Scottish Government has since announced that CCTV will be required from 1 July 2021.
Better food labelling to show welfare status
This is a topic that is being discussed a lot within the EU and also the UK, but has yet to be enacted. However, the SNP manifesto says that they will “will seek to reflect so far as we can, new EU animal welfare labelling to promote food produced to higher than EU welfare standards.”
Recognise sentience of cephalopods and decapod crustaceans
DEFRA has funded research into the sentience and welfare risks of these animals, which was carried out by a team led by Professor Birch at the London School of Economics. OneKind gave stakeholder input to this research. The Scottish Government has said that it will await the report before making any decisions on this topic.
Moratorium on salmon farming and better welfare regulation
In the party manifestos, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and SNP are supportive of the industry, and Scottish Greens will support a moratorium, and introduce various welfare improvements.