1. Under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 (the Act) anyone who is responsible for an animal has a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure its welfare. The legislation quoted in Appendix A in the boxes throughout this document is not part of the Code but is intended to highlight the relevant legal requirements. The law, as quoted, is that in force on the date of publication or reprinting of the Code.
2. Generally, there is a duty to comply with legislation. Although the Code does not have legislative effect, it is intended to promote and give examples of good practice. Failure to comply with a provision of this Code, whilst not an offence in itself, may be relied upon as tending to establish liability where a person has been accused of an offence under Part 2 of the Act. Equally, compliance with a provision of the Code may be relied upon as tending to negate liability by a person in any proceedings for an offence under Part 2 of the Act.
3. This Code covers all domesticated equidae for which a person is responsible, including all horses, ponies, donkeys and hybrids.
4. This Code provides a practical guide to those owners and keepers responsible for these animals in Scotland and details a set of underpinning principles of equine care which are designed to cover the differing management techniques required for the many circumstances in which animals are kept in Scotland.
5. A horse, pony, donkey or hybrid which is being treated by a veterinary surgeon may have additional or special needs specified by the veterinary surgeon over and above the requirements of this Code.