Aims of the Scottish Government
12. The Scottish Government's overall purpose  is to focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth. Within that aim there is a strategic objective specific to rural Scotland, which is to improve Scotland's natural and built environment and the sustainable use and enjoyment of it  .
13. To achieve that strategic objective the Scottish Government has a vision of an agriculture industry that is dynamic, competitive and renowned for good quality, sustainable produce. It will strive to achieve that vision by promoting high welfare, healthy livestock produced by resilient systems with minimal environmental impact.
14. We recognise that Scottish livestock enterprises have to operate in a commercial world and that margins are tight. We understand the challenges they faced in the years ahead. That why Scottish government has produced an Agriculture vision - The Future of Scottish Agriculture A Discussion Document, which was published in June 2015, and is part of a dialogue about the future of the agriculture industry in Scotland. Moving forward from these discussions; Government and industry stakeholders will be working in partnerships to identify the initial actions required that will assist the livestock sector in realising elements of this vision.
15. The Scottish Government plays a pivotal role in agriculture through support payments, provision of advisory services, funding of research and control of statutory endemic and exotic disease. However, its ability to achieve its strategic goals has to take into account financial constraints, European Union legislation and animal health and welfare law.
16. Policy on animal health and welfare is largely devolved, and the Scottish Government already:
16.1. Acts to minimise incursions of exotic animal disease, and to eradicate outbreaks effficiently as and when they occur;
16.2. Sets and enforces minimum standards of animal welfare;
16.3. Regulates ancillary industries, such as haulage, abattoirs, markets, renderers and fallen stock collectors;
16.4. Supports, through the rural development programme, advisory and knowledge exchange services to help improve business and farming practices across the sector;
16.5. Protects the interests of Scottish producers by seeking to influence the development of European Union legislation on animal health and welfare;
16.6. Works with other UK administrations to ensure that there is a co‑ordinated and, where possible, consistent approach to developing legislation and policy;
16.7. Promotes and funds relevant strategic and applied research and facilitates collaboration between the various institutes and universities that carry out activities in support of animal health and welfare for the livestock sector; and
16.8. Implements joint industry and government initiatives, for example by introducing legislation or by supporting other measures to control non-statutory endemic diseases  and promote welfare.
17. The Scottish Government administers animal health and welfare policy through the Animal Health and Welfare Division, which is headed by the Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland and which is part of the Directorate for Agriculture, Food and Rural Communities. Delivery of government animal health and welfare services is largely through the Animal and Plant Health Agency ( APHA).
18. Many aspects of animal health and welfare law are enforced by local authorities or the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( SSPCA)  . The Scottish Government and APHA maintain close links with those partners and APHA in particular is a party to a Memorandum of Understanding that has been prepared between the SSPCA and local authorities to avoid duplication of effort and disruption to the industry.
Links with Other Administrations
18. Legislation affecting animal health and welfare is largely set by the European Union in order to set minimum standards that ensure a fair market and free movement of goods across the European Union as well as to allow the European Union to trade with third countries (that is, countries outwith the European Union) as a single bloc.
19. Although responsibility for policy on animal health and welfare is largely devolved to the Scottish Government, the UK Government retains the lead in all negotiations with the European Union, and all other international bodies. However, the Scottish Government will continue to promote Scotland's interests in Europe through its office in Brussels by direct contact with appropriate officials and working to influence other Member States.
20. Of course, disease is no respecter of borders and disease could spread across Great Britain regardless of where it originated. As a result, Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) is considered to be a single epidemiological unit for the purposes of animal disease control.
21. The division of responsibilities between reserved and devolved, as well as the need to tackle disease co‑operatively means that the Scottish Government works closely with, and will continue to work closely with, its counterparts in the Welsh Government and Defra. The current working arrangements include regular meetings between the Chief Veterinary Officers of each administration in the UK (that is Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland), UK wide exercises to rehearse the response to disease outbreaks and discussions on the UK's view on European Union initiatives.
22. The Scottish Government was also involved in 'Animal and Plant Health in the UK: building our science capability'  , a strategy to set the strategic direction and priorities for UK animal and plant health science, and to ensure the UK has the science capability, in the provision of research, evidence and laboratory services, to underpin best practice management over the next 10-15 years. As part of the UK Science Partnership for Animal and Plant Health we are taking this work forward and the output from the project can be used to inform the Scottish position.