More for Scotland’s Animals - a coalition of charities - is lobbying politicians and candidates ahead of this year's elections
Scots have called for animals to receive better protection.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the election coalition campaign More for Scotland’s Animals (MFSA) has revealed that 84% of Scots are in support of strengthening the regulation and enforcement of welfare standards in the pet trade (including breeders and online sales). This comes as Scottish SPCA has reported an increase in illegal puppy sales and trading during the pandemic.
It is not just companion animals that the Scottish public want to see better protected, though. The poll also revealed that 76% of Scots want to see a ban on the use of snares (cruel traps that are set to catch animals such as foxes and rabbits). 67% support a ban of the use of farrowing crates for sows (crates where pigs are placed prior to giving birth, and for up to four weeks after, which are so small that they cannot turn around).
The More for Scotland’s Animals campaign aims to raise the profile of animal welfare in Scotland and amongst candidate MSPs. The campaign is being run by ten of the leading animal welfare organisations ahead of the 2021 Scottish elections, and urges candidates to pledge to do more for Scotland’s animals if elected to the Scottish Parliament.
Bob Elliot, director of OneKind, said: “What is clear from the results of the YouGov poll is that Scottish public expect the incoming Scottish Parliament to prioritise animal welfare in the next session. Voters will be considering companion, wild and farmed animal welfare when they take to the ballot box this spring.
“We are delighted to be co-ordinating the More for Scotland’s Animals campaign group to encourage MSPs to pledge to do more for Scotland’s animals. Animals play a key role in society, and the public care deeply about how they are treated, whether they are farmed, wild or companion animals. In the upcoming months we will be encouraging candidate MSPs to take part in a series of actions to pledge their commitment to animal welfare. We look forward to working with the incoming parliament and government to make Scotland a better place for animals.”
Jacqui Cuff, head of advocacy and government relations at Cats Protection, said: “Scotland is a nation of cat lovers and our recent CATS 2020 report confirmed that there are 785,000 owned cats in Scotland – that’s one for almost every seven people! The Scottish Parliament has already led the way on important issues such as introducing licencing of cat breeding and regulating rehoming organisations that rehome animals including stray and abandoned cats. We look forward to working with newly elected members to continue to improve cat welfare in Scotland.”
Becky Thwaites, head of public affairs at Blue Cross, said: “We’re really pleased to be working alongside other charities to ask all candidates to pledge to do more for Scotland’s animals ahead of the Scottish elections, and are hopeful that together we can make a real difference to pet welfare in Scotland. The Scottish Government has already taken some big steps forward when it comes to protecting pets, but there is still more to be done.”
James West, of Compassion in World Farming, said: “Last year we saw Scotland halt live calf exports and 1.4 million citizens across Europe call for an end to the cage age. We hope that members elected to the Scottish Parliament will promote the highest possible standards for farm animal welfare, including securing a full legal ban on live exports and working to phase out the use of crates and cages on all Scottish farms. If Scotland is to claim it has the highest standards of farm animal welfare then these are just the first steps it must take along that path and we look forward to working with MSPs to make that claim a reality.”
Paula Boyden, veterinary director for Dogs Trust, said: “The More for Scotland’s Animals campaign is an important initiative which seeks to give animals a louder voice in Scotland, and we are proud to be part of this.
“Dogs Trust has long been campaigning for measures to improve dog welfare in Scotland. Whilst the Scottish Government has already taken important steps to tackle animal cruelty, we hope that members elected to Parliament will support our calls for action to further safeguard the welfare of our canine friends, including the introduction of a ban, in legislation, on the use of aversive training devices.”
Michael Webb, of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said: “As we saw last summer when Scotland increased maximum sentences for animal cruelty offences after years of campaigning from Battersea and other organisations, Scottish Parliament has previously recognised the importance of animal welfare and we’re joining the call for parliamentary candidates to commit to promoting animal welfare issues should they be elected.
“We’re proud to be part of the ‘More for Scotland’s Animals’ coalition and look forward to continuing to work closely with MSPs to further improve the lives of Scotland’s animals.”
Vicki Betton, PDSA policy and campaigns manager, said: “The PDSA PAW Report shows that 92% of Scottish pet owners consider this to be a nation of animal lovers, and with 83% saying that their pet makes them feel mentally healthier, and 43% considering their pet to have been a lifeline during lockdown, it’s not surprising that so many voters want to see the Scottish Government continue to drive forward improvements to animal protections in law. We’re pleased to once again be working with other leading animal welfare organisations in Scotland to encourage candidates to commit to driving positive change for animals if they are elected, and look forward to working with newly elected MSPs on issues which will improve the lives of Scotland’s pets.”