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Animal welfare measures to be delivered by Scottish Government

12 May 2017

A package of animal welfare measures animal welfare has been announced by the Scottish Government, as it introduces a bill to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

The Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Bill, introduced yesterday to the Scottish Parliament, makes it an offence to use any wild animal in a travelling circus in Scotland. Ministers are promoting the bill on ethical grounds. "Wild animal" is defined as an animal of a kind that is not normally domesticated in the British Isles.

Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, who introduced the measure, also confirmed that the Government will:

  • introduce measures to require the registration or licensing of animal shelters and rehoming activities;
  • update regulations governing the licensing of dog, cat and rabbit breeding and dealing, including the irresponsible breeding and sale of these animals;
  • modernise the legislation on performing animals other than in circuses;
  • introduce tight controls on the use of electronic training collars;
  • review the penalties available for animal welfare offences;
  • 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.

Draft regulations on the past point have been laid before Holyrood and a committee has issued a call for evidence (click here for separate report). 

Ms Cunningham commented: “These measures have been carefully designed to improve standards of animal welfare in Scotland. Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and we take this issue very seriously.

“The bill we have introduced today bans the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, which is widely considered to be morally unacceptable in the present day.

“We have consulted extensively on a number of other issues and will now bring forward improved legislation and measures which will improve animal welfare.”

Click here to access the bill and related papers.

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