Are maximum penalties for the most serious animal welfare and wildlife offences severe enough? Would increased penalties be a deterrent? Should the protection of service animals be increased? What about compensation for owners?
These are just a few of the questions being asked by Holyrood’s Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee as it considers proposals to provide further protections to animals and wildlife in Scotland.
The Committee has today launched a call for views on plans contained in the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill increases the maximum available penalties for the most serious animal welfare offences including: maltreating animals; attacks on service animals; destroying nests and damaging wild birds; poaching; possessing or selling unlawfully taken hares and rabbits and introducing invasive non-native species.
The Bill also provides extra protection to service animals (the so-called ‘Finn’s Law’) and introduces fixed penalty notices for animal health and welfare offences.
Speaking as the call for views was launched, Committee Convener, Gillian Martin MSP said;
“Surely it is incumbent upon us to do all we can to protect our animals and wildlife. We believe that so much more can be done and that is why it is so important that we ask as many people as possible how we can strengthen the existing protections and collectively create a framework that will positively impact animals and wildlife in Scotland for years to come.”
The call for views is open until 12 November and more information can be found online here.
The Committee expects to take oral evidence on the Bill from late this year into early 2020.
Information on the Bill can be found online at www.parliament.scot/animal-welfare.