The 2016 Scottish Elections – Who said what on animal welfare?

's avatar

04 May 2016

The Scottish Elections are just around the corner so what then are the politicians saying about animal welfare?

party policies

If you are a keen follower of our campaigns, then you will likely have seen our many posts encouraging members of the public to ask their election candidates to do more for Scotland’s animals if they get elected. An amazing 120 candidates have made the pledge, and we look forward to seeing what they will do for animals if elected.

But what about the Parties? The good news is that animal welfare features in most of the manifestos and some very welcome commitments have been made. Here’s our guide to what has been said…


The Scottish Greens and Scottish Labour have indicated that they intend to ban the use of snares, whilst the Lib Dems have stated that they will, ‘Ensure a prominent role for animal welfare organisations and a proper evidence-based approach when current regulations on snaring are reviewed…’

The Scottish Greens, Scottish Labour, Scottish Liberal Democrats and the SNP all mentioned the need to tackle failings in the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crime, with each of them (except for the Greens) stating explicitly that they would move to create a dedicated Wildlife Crime Unit within Police Scotland.  The Scottish Greens, Scottish Labour and the SNP have all indicated that they would seek to ensure that the law on hunting with dogs is effectively enforced.

Farm animals

The Scottish Greens are the only party who address farm animal welfare in their manifesto, calling for a phasing out of intensive indoor barn rearing of poultry and pigs, making use of local and mobile abattoirs to reduce the distances animals are transported before being slaughtered, and the introduction of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses.


The Liberal Democrats propose to accelerate the review of pet welfare laws in order to address, amongst other issues, the intensive breeding of puppies, whilst Labour and the Greens would take steps to deal with issues in the trade of exotic animals.

Tail docking is currently banned in Scotland but in the Parliamentary session that has just closed, the Scottish Government consulted on permitting tail docking of working dog breeds. The SNP have committed to continuing this process ‘to implement the best possible policy from an animal welfare perspective.’

The SNP intend to continue the review on the use of aversive training aids such as electric shock collars for dogs, whereas Labour have explicitly stated they intend to ban them.

Other Animals

The SNP, the Greens and Labour all agree that the use of wild animals in circuses should come to an end. We have been pushing for a ban on wild animals in circuses for years, so hopefully we will see this realised within the next year or so. The Greens have also made a commitment to push for new laws that will provide greater protection for racing greyhounds.

comments powered by Disqus

Saving Scotland's Foxes with Hessilhead