Animal Health Act 1981: expenditure and prosecutions - 2020

This statutory return is collated and laid before the Scottish Parliament in accordance with Section 80 of the Animal Health Act 1981. The report covers expenditure incurred and prosecutions taken under the Animal Health Act 1981, and incidences of disease in imported animals for the year 2020.

Animal Health Act 1981: Expenditure and Prosecutions – 2020

Annual return made under section 80 of the Animal Health Act 1981

This statutory return is required to be made and laid before Parliament in accordance with Section 80 of the Animal Health Act 1981 and includes data relating to Scotland only.

A separate report has been compiled by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Government for their respective functions.

This return is compiled from information supplied to the Scottish Government and while every effort is made to ensure its accuracy, this cannot be guaranteed.

Scottish Government
Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
March 2021

Prosecutions under the Animal Health Act 1981 in 2020

There were no prosecutions in 2020.

Compensation paid for animals slaughtered to prevent the spread of animal diseases in 2020

Type of Disease Amount
Bovine tuberculosis £401,860
Less receipts from salvage of carcasses £38,326
Total Net Compensation Paid £363,533
Salmonella £49,262

Notes: All figures have been rounded up to the nearest pound.

Number of imported animals found to be affected by a notifiable disease in 2020

Legislation Type of Animal Number Point of Origin Type of Disease Methods of Disposal
The Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 2007 Bovine 1 Northern Ireland Bovine tuberculosis Slaughter

Formal enforcement actions under the Animal Health Act 1981 and other animal health and welfare legislation by local authorities in 2020

Convictions achieved under the Animal Health Act 1981 and other animal health and welfare legislation

Relevant Act, Order or Regulation Nature of offence Result (when known) Decision (including imprisonment, fine etc.)
Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 Causing unnecessary suffering to cattle, keeping cattle in a way likely to cause unnecessary suffering. Guilty 150 hours Community Service
Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 2 x Causing unnecessary suffering to cows by failing to provide adequate care and treatment. Guilty 1 year ban from keeping cattle,
£3000 fine
Causing unnecessary suffering to calves by failing to provide adequate care and suitable environment.
Failing to provide a suitable environment for animals.
Animal By Product (Scotland) Regulations 2013 Failure to dispose of sheep skeletons. Guilty £900 fine
Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 Failure to provide a suitable diet.
Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2010 Animals not cared for with ability, knowledge and professional competence.

Number of visits and enforcement action taken

Category Subcategory Number of visits Oral or Written Advice Written Notification Warnings Formal written Notices Reported to Procurator Fiscal Other
Welfare (see note 1) Farm 548 448 32 11 3 0
Welfare Transport 781 21 2 2 1 0
Welfare Market 419 134 7 39 0 0
Traceability Identification, Movement, and Records 381 71 14 6 1 0
Biosecurity (see note 2) Farm and Transport 75 30 14 0 0 0
Biosecurity Market 194 9 4 3 0 0
Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) Visits and interventions 86 22 9 0 0 2


1. This is the number of welfare visit undertaken which were programmed, part of planned interventions, or projects, or in response to complaints

2. This is the number of visits where biosecurity has been considered separately, outwith a general market or farm visit.

Number of complaints, service requests and livestock animals inspected

Category Total
Number of animal health and welfare complaints made to Service (see note 1) 1281
Number of service requests made to Service (see note 2) 739
Livestock animals inspected (see note 3) 601049


1. This is the number of requests or complaints received which have required action or investigation by local authority animal health and welfare officers.

2. This figure includes request for service from consumers (not complaints), businesses and other agencies.

3. This is the total number of animals which were inspected or assessed in markets and other premises or holdings. This will include animals inspected for fitness, identification or health at markets and does not require that an examination takes place.

Summary of alternative enforcement interventions taken

  • Participation in multi-agency groups (e.g. North of Scotland Rural Crime Group);
  • Shared intelligence with other agencies including the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Police;
  • Telephone and desktop investigations as result of Covid-19 restrictions;
  • Utilisation of digital training and meetings;
  • Alternative enforcement via website and direct targeting to address the problems of avian influenza, sheep scab, and animal by-product disposal;
  • Advice on animal by-product storage and disposal;
  • Direct response to bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) and general guidance issued;
  • Quarantine of illegal imports of cats and dogs. Action taken regarding suspected illegal imports of dogs (e.g. owners and importers interviewed, veterinary treatment arranged where necessary);
  • Local authority social media pages updated to remind puppy buyers of their responsibilities and to avoid purchase of unchipped or underage animals without record of veterinary treatments; and
  • Questionnaires and business advice sent to low risk farms. Information requested on transport qualifications and location of farmed animals.

Notes: Alternative interventions are recorded to highlight additional work and areas covered. This may include attendance at agricultural shows, NFUS meetings; joint initiatives with APHA, police, Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Division (SGRPID); leaflets and information etc.

Key Performance Measure

High Risk Visits
Average of high risk programmed visits inspected 37%

Notes: This is the figure for High Risk agricultural premises visited by local authorities but also includes visits that have not been carried out as a result of these premises being visited by APHA staff as part of their pre-planned visit plan. As a result this prevents penalising local authorities who are using a joined-up approach to prevent double visits by different enforcers for similar purposes.


Oral or Written advice: There is little difference whether the advice is written or oral. If it is advice and for enforcement purposes, should be grouped together. This would also be useful as it gives an indication of the level of complaint businesses.

Written correspondence or warnings: This indicates that there is a need for improvements following the intervention of animal health and welfare officers. This includes all letters and written notifications issued by the officer or the service which require improvements or actions to be taken.

Formal written notices: This should include any formal statutory Notices which are issued under the Animal Health Act 1981, or other animal health and welfare Regulations or Orders.

Reported to Procurator Fiscal: We should record the number of cases reported to Procurator Fiscal as this is not the same as the prosecution reports. There may well be cases which are not progressed by the Crown or they may issue a fiscal warning. It would be helpful to determine this as it will provide an overview on the work of Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit.

Other: This includes Notices issued by the Sheriff including disposal orders in terms of livestock seizures.



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