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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-21872: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 28 February 2019

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-12975 by Roseanna Cunningham on 30 November 2017, whether it will (a) amend the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 or (b) introduce new measures to ensure that the recognition of the sentience of all wild animals is reflected in its legislation after the UK leaves the EU.

Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 8 March 2019

Animal sentience has been implicitly recognised in Scottish legislation for over a century, most recently in the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 which ensures the welfare of all vertebrate animals kept by man. This recognition included wild animals in the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament on 21 March 2018.

The Scottish Government is aware of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing and the Recognition of Sentience) Bill in the UK Parliament intended to require Ministers of the Crown to have regard to the welfare needs of animals as sentient beings when formulating and implementing Government policy. The Scottish Government is considering the extension of the duty to have regard to the welfare needs of all sentient animals when formulating and implementing policy to Scottish Ministers as regards matters devolved to the Scottish Government.