What will the next Scottish Government do for animals?

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19 April 2016

It’s almost election time in Scotland, so last week OneKind, working in partnership with Blue Cross, Cats Protection, the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland, and PDSA, put on a hustings event in Edinburgh to grill candidates on their plans for animal welfare in Scotland.

Harry Huyton

We had a fantastic panel, including:

  • Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservatives candidate for Edinburgh Southern and on the Lothians list
  • Alison Johnstone, Scottish Greens candidate on the Lothians list
  • Sarah Boyack, Scottish Labour candidate for the Edinburgh Central seat and on the Lothians list
  • Heather Anderson, Scottish National Party candidate for Edinburgh Northern and Leith and on the Lothians list

We also had a big, passionate and well-informed audience who challenged the panel to do more for Scotland’s wildlife, pets and farm animals. Here’s our summary of the top five issues from the evening:

  1. Snaring in Scotland was debated widely, with much of the panel supporting an outright ban. Others suggested that regulation should be improved and smarter traps should be used instead.
  2. Some of the audience pushed the politicians hard on the importance of changing diets to reduce the suffering caused by poultry and livestock farming. All panellists agreed that things needed to change, and Heather Anderson in particular put forward a passionate case for going organic.
  3. With the decision as to whether to ban electric shock collars likely to be on top of the incoming Minister’s desk, the strong support for a ban from panellists was also warmly welcomed by all.
  4. The debate over pet welfare repeatedly came back to the problem of internet pet sales. Everyone agreed that regulating these must be a priority if we’re to improve the welfare of Scotland’s pets.
  5. When asked whether they would support changing the fox hunting law in Scotland so that packs of dogs could no longer be used to flush foxes, most panel members were keen to voice their support - to the delight of the audience.

All in all, it was a hugely encouraging debate. Both in terms of the passion from the audience and from the politicians. Imagine, for a moment, if Scotland were to ban snares, close the loopholes that allow fox hunting, regulate internet pet sales, adopt kinder diets and ban electric shock collars. Millions of animals would lead better lives and Scotland would become one of the leading countries in Europe in terms of how we treat animals.

That’s what we at OneKind are working towards. You can help us asking all of your candidate MSPs to get on board and pledge to do More for Scotland’s animals today.

If you were at our hustings we would love to hear your views on what you heard!

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