Animal health and welfare framework: 2020 to 2022

This framework provides a risk based approach to animal health and welfare duties carried out by local authorities.

Section 2: The aims, objectives and outcomes of the Framework


2.1 The aim of the Framework is to provide standards for service design to ensure effective, accountable and co-ordinated delivery of animal health and welfare services in Scotland.

2.2 It is intended to be flexible, whilst incorporating agreement on the principles of how the service is to be delivered. It fully recognises the autonomy of local authorities.

2.3 It is anticipated that this Framework will help encourage better management and improve forward planning by documenting actions to be taken by local authorities and APHA, either individually or in partnership.

2.4 The need for pro active surveillance and enforcement was recognised in the COSLA/SG Rural Directorate 'Animal Health and Welfare Statutory Obligations and Main Activity Areas for Local Authorities' which states:

'The importance of targeted surveillance (in accordance with an appropriate risk assessment scheme) cannot be over emphasised.

(i) It communicates the requirements and purpose of the legislation to the target organisation or individual.

(ii) It demonstrates to the public that the local authority is fulfilling its responsibilities and protecting the farmed livestock and the public from identifiable risks.

(iii) It provides enforcement officers with the contacts and experience necessary to carry out enforcement activities and to act as authoritative witnesses in the event of court proceedings being taken.

(iv) It ensures proper administration of movement documentation, vital in the investigation of any disease outbreak'

2.5 Priority must be given to the Critical Control Areas (CCAs). The CCAs are the agreed businesses, premises or locations at which controls can be applied resulting in the reduction in risk of the introduction or spread of notifiable disease in Scotland. For Framework purposes, the CCAs are:

  • Markets, collection centres and assembly centres
  • Slaughterhouses
  • High risk traders
  • High risk farms
  • Ports

The objectives of the Framework

2.6 The Framework was developed under the 2010-2015 Animal Health and Welfare Strategy for Great Britain to develop a partnership to make a lasting and continuous improvement in the health and welfare of kept animals while protecting society, the economy and the environment from the effect of animal diseases'. The five principles within the 2011-2015 Strategy remain relevant as principles for the Framework; they are: working in partnership, understanding and accepting roles and responsibility, prevention is better than cure, understanding the costs and benefits and delivering and enforcing standards.

2.7 The aim of the Scottish Government is to achieve an agricultural industry that is dynamic, competitive and renowned for good quality sustainable produce. This aim will be supported by continued improvements in animal health and welfare by addressing five key themes: skills and knowledge, disease risk, welfare, regulatory and societal impact. Regulatory work is important to ensure improvements occur but also needs to ensure that it is coordinated and not unnecessarily burdensome to the sector. The Framework provides a structure and benchmark to support a risk-based and targeted approach to deliver the benefits of better regulation and promotes partnership working in a manner consistent with the values of the Doing Better Initiative to Reduce Red Tape for Farmers and Rural Land Managers.

1. Working in partnership

This is a principle for everyone involved in animal health and welfare, including government, local authorities, animal owners and veterinary surgeons. It can only be successful if the Scottish Government, APHA and local authorities work together.

2. Understanding and accepting roles and responsibilities

All those with an interest in animal health and welfare must have a good understanding of their responsibilities. Ultimately it is up to animal owners to make a real difference to the health and welfare of their animals. However, provision of advice and guidance can assist in this process.

3. 'Prevention is better than cure'

Animals that are cared for appropriately and in accordance with existing biosecurity and welfare standards are more likely to be healthy, and less likely to contract or spread disease. It is essential for all animal owners to have the necessary skills to care for their animals, exercising good practice and using veterinary services and medicines appropriately. We need to reduce the chances of a disease entering the population, and if it does, reduce the risk of spread and ensure that it can be quickly spotted and dealt with. Animals therefore suffer less, while the livestock industry can work without the expensive, stressful, and restrictive disruptions caused by large scale disease outbreaks.

4. Understanding the costs and benefits

Preventing animal diseases has obvious benefits as well as being cost effective. All animal owners must play their part in preventing disease to make sure this happens. The costs and benefits involved need to be clearly understood and unnecessary burdens of regulation removed.

5. Delivering and enforcing standards

Although last on the list, this principle is the key to making the Framework operate properly. All participating organisations have a role in providing leadership and helping to facilitate the raising of animal health and welfare standards. They must also ensure that whatever interventions are made are consistently and effectively delivered and enforced. This can only be achieved by all agencies working in partnership. The Framework provides a forum for improving partnership working and has promoted the proportionate, risk-based, transparent and intelligence–led enforcement to meet the Scottish Government's Regulatory Strategic Framework.

The outcomes of the Framework

2.8 The intended outcomes of the Framework are to:

1. effectively reduce the risk of animal disease incursion and spread, thereby protecting public and animal health;

2. improve animal welfare;

3. promote a joined-up approach between all agencies involved in animal health and welfare;

4. improve provision of management information to local and national government on the delivery of animal health and welfare services, and to allow the UK to fulfil its obligations to the European Union and other trading partners;

5. support the objective of Scottish Government for 'high welfare, healthy livestock produced by resilient systems with minimal environmental impact' by minimising disease incursions, eradicating outbreaks, setting and enforcing minimum standards of welfare by effective regulation to achieve compliant businesses that reduce the likelihood of disease incursion and enable effective control measures to be applied;

6. protect local communities, including the effects on the local economy.

2.9 Both the activity and welfare matrices have been linked to one or more of these outcomes.



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