Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006: guidance

The Government has prepared notes to aid understanding by providing general guidance on the content of the Act and where appropriate, to give additional notes on its general and specific provisions. They do not form part of the Act and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

Guidance on welfare bodies, codes and guidance

Animal Welfare Bodies - Section 36

Scottish Ministers have the power to make regulations to establish a body to provide them and others with relevant advice concerning the welfare of protected animals. Scottish Ministers can also issue regulations in order to facilitate or improve co-ordination between bodies which have functions relating to the welfare of animals.

Animal Welfare Codes - Section 37

Codes are already widely used to promote the welfare of farmed animals and the Act provides for their use to be extended to non-farmed animals. The existing codes on the welfare of farmed animals (which have been made under section 3 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968) will continue in force.

Scottish Ministers have the power, after appropriate consultation, and subject to the approval of Parliament, to issue and revise codes which provide practical guidance in relation to the provisions of the animal welfare part of the Act or regulations made under that part of the Act. Ministers must publicise animal welfare codes in an appropriate manner. Normally this will involve issuing a news release and sending copies of the codes to industry bodies and interested organisations.

Failure to comply with a provision of an animal welfare code is not in itself an offence, however, the courts can refer to the appropriate codes when making a judgement as to whether an offence has been committed under the welfare provisions of the Act. Owners and keepers of animals may therefore find the codes a useful resource of information and advice on how to provide acceptable welfare standards for their animals.

Animal Welfare Guidance - Section 38

This section allows Scottish Ministers to issue general statutory guidance on issues which relate to the securing of animal welfare. Unlike the guidance which can be given in the animal welfare codes, this guidance does not require to be directed to persons responsible for protected animals. This section allows for more general guidance which can be produced with a view to securing the welfare of protected animals. For example, this section allows Ministers to issue guidance on how to control the spread of ragwort, which is poisonous to horses and cattle, to land managers even if they are not responsible for any animals.

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