Publication - FOI/EIR release

Breakdown of animal welfare complaints: EIR release

Published: 8 Jul 2021

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Published:
8 Jul 2021
Breakdown of animal welfare complaints: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100216412
Date received: 22 Jun 2021
Date responded: 7 Jul 2021
Information requested

1. How many welfare complaints did you receive in relation to the following:
a. On-farm animal welfare;
b. Welfare at markets; and,
c. Welfare during transport?
d. Welfare at a border post?

2. How many welfare complaints did you investigate in relation to the following:
a. On-farm animal welfare;
b. Welfare at markets; and,
c. Welfare during transport?
d. Welfare at a border post?

3. How many prosecution proceedings did you commence or refer to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for offences named in the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006?
a. Of those proceedings, how many resulted in a successful prosecution?

4. How many care notices did you serve under section 25 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 for failures to comply with section 24 of that Act?

5. How many prosecution proceedings did you commence or refer to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for offences named in Section 11 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2010?
a. Of those proceedings, how many resulted in a successful prosecution?

5. How many prosecution proceedings did you commence or refer to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for offences named in Section 11 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2010?
a. Of those proceedings, how many resulted in a successful prosecution?

6. How many compliance notices were issued by your inspectors for failures to comply with the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Scotland) Regulations 2006?

7. How many prosecution proceedings did you commence or refer to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service for offences named in the Welfare of Animals at Markets Order 1990?
a. Of those proceedings, how many resulted in a successful prosecution?

8. How many individuals subject to any of the above enforcement action had previously committed an animal welfare offence?

9. How many people do you employ to carry out farm animal welfare inspections as part of their duties?
a.How many farm animal welfare inspections did they complete?

10. How many people do you employ to carry out enforcement of the Animal Health Act 1981 as part of their duties?

Response

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

1. The Scottish Government did not receive any welfare complaints, or hold any information, in relation to on-farm animal welfare; welfare at markets; welfare during transport; or welfare at a border post in 2020.

2. The Scottish Government did not investigate any welfare complaints in relation to on-farm animal welfare; welfare at markets; welfare during transport; or welfare at a border post in 2020.

3. The Scottish Government did not commence, or refer to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, any prosecution proceedings for offences named in the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 in 2020.

4. The Scottish Government served no care notices under section 25 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 for failures to comply with section 24 of that Act in 2020.

5. The Scottish Government did not commence, or refer to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, any prosecution proceedings for offences named in Section 11 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2010 in 2020.

6. The Scottish Government issued no compliance notices in 2020 for failures to comply with the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Scotland) Regulations 2006.

7. The Scottish Government did not commence, or refer to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, any prosecution proceedings for offences named in the Welfare of Animals at Markets Order 1990 in 2020.

8. The Scottish Government has no information on whether individuals subject to any of the above enforcement actions had previously committed an animal welfare offence.

9. The Scottish Government does not directly employ any staff to carry out farm animal welfare inspections as part of their duties.

10. The Scottish Government does not directly employ any staff to carry out enforcement of the Animal Health Act 1981 as part of their duties.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs.

Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because it does not carry out any of the functions that you have asked about. Instead, our response suggests that the organisations who carry out those functions could be contacted and their contact details are included in the reply.

This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the number of complaints, prosecutions and compliance notices in relation to farm animals in 2020, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

However, you may wish to contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) at enquiries@apha.gov.uk who may be able to help you. APHA administers the welfare provisions for animals on farms, in transit and at markets on behalf of the Scottish Ministers and may hold some of the information you have requested.

Employees of Scottish local authorities also have an inspectorial role in on farm welfare of animals and may hold some of the information you have requested. Information on the 32 Scottish local authorities  can be found at https://www.mygov.scot/organisations#scottish-local-authority and the individual websites will provide contact details.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG