This summary presents the key themes to emerge from the Scottish Government's consultation on amendments to the Animal Health Act 1981. The focus of the consultation was to gather views on proposals to give Scottish Ministers a power to make regulations allowing fixed penalty notices to be used in relation to animal health offences; and whether any further changes may be required to the Animal Health Act 1981 to ensure it remains fit for purpose.
Profile of Respondents
In total, 36 responses were available for analysis. Of these, 27 were from groups or organisations and 9 were from individuals.
Overview of Responses and Key Themes
- Question 1 - Do you agree that the introduction of proportionate fixed penalty notices would improve enforcement of animal health offences?
- A majority (83.3%) of respondents agreed.
- Key themes included: fixed penalty notices would be a quick and effective method for dealing with offences; it would give enforcement bodies more options; fixed penalty notices would improve compliance; and they should be proportionate and be used for lesser offences only.
- Question 2 - Different fixed penalty notice regimes exist. Which fixed penalty notice regime do you think should be used for animal health offences?
- A number of respondents identified fixed penalty notice regimes that have been successful in other areas and could be applied to animal health offences. Examples included: Anti-social Behaviour; Sale of Tobacco and Nicotine Vapour Products; Littering; and Dog Fouling
- Additional comments included: fixed penalty notices should be a direct alternative to prosecution; the financial penalty should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence; and unpaid penalties should be referred for prosecution.
- Question 3 - Are there any other amendments that could be made to the Act that you think will help to improve animal health? For example, amendments that may improve disease control, disease preparedness, biosecurity or animal movements.
- Suggestions included: improving biosecurity provisions; increased regulation of hobby farmers and pet owners; improving traceability; and monitoring of animal movements.
- Further comments suggested animal health could be improved through education, training and support.