Scotland led the way in addressing animal welfare concerns when the Scottish Parliament banned fox hunting in 2002. However, the SNP Government recognised concerns about the legislation and asked the Rt Hon Lord Bonomy to review whether the law was providing sufficient protection for our wild animals. The Scottish Government is now consulting on potential improvements to the law following this review. You can respond to the consultation here.
Over the past five years wildlife crime has fallen by 15 per cent but there is no room for complacency. That’s why in this Parliament the SNP Scottish Government will undertake a wildlife crime prevention review and set up a Wildlife Crime Investigation Unit as part of Police Scotland.
We will introduce tough new regulations on the use of electronic training collars for animals. To help prevent animal suffering the use of electric pulse, sonic and spray collars will be prohibited, unless under the guidance of an approved trainer or vet.
In November 2016 the SNP Government announced that beavers will be allowed to remain in Scotland and will be actively managed in line with practices in other European countries.
Work has now begun to ensure beavers can be added to Scotland’s list of protected species – the first time a mammal has been officially reintroduced to the UK. Farmers will be given advice and assistance in understanding their options to help them implement mitigation and prevention measures.
We have introduced a Bill to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, which is making its way through the Scottish Parliament.
In the face of the disruption and confusion caused by the Brexit process, we will take appropriate action to safeguard animal welfare standard.