BVA has welcomed the Scottish Government’s plans to establish a new Animal Welfare Commission to advise on the welfare of domesticated and wild animals in Scotland and ensure that standards are maintained post-Brexit.

The new commission, announced as part of the Scottish Government’s 2018-19 Programme, will work closely with animal welfare organisations and other expert stakeholders across key issues including sentencing for animal cruelty, including attacks on police dogs, breeding legislation and the licensing of animal sanctuaries and rehoming centres.

Melissa Donald, BVA Scottish Branch President, said: “This is a great move which demonstrates the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to animal welfare.  It is vitally important to ensure that animal welfare standards are at least maintained and where possible improved post-Brexit, so establishing a specialist group with this remit will help to channel expertise with a clear goal in mind.

“BVA has fed into consultations on sanctuaries and rehoming centres and emphasised the importance of strengthened, clear and considered regulation which prioritises the health and welfare of animals in these environments.  We also support strengthened protections for all ‘protected animals’ as defined in the Animal Welfare Act.

“We look forward to seeing proposals in due course for other animal activities including breeding and pet sales. At a minimum these should be aligned with the incoming Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations to ensure high standards of animal welfare across the UK and prevent loopholes in licensing legislation between nations.”

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