Welfare of animals in research laboratories and Scottish Veterinary Service board: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

Visits to salmon farms, whether responsibiliuty for research laboratories in Scotland be devolved and who is on the Board establishing the Scottish Veterinary Service (SVS).


The answer to your questions are as follows.

It is still early in the process since the announcement of the SVS, and its remit is still being formulated. It will be for the SVS Programme Board to recommend to Ministers what is in scope. The Board will assess the range of functions that such a service may deliver. Potential functions for consideration include, the animal health and welfare services currently delivered by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in Scotland (and other centralised locations in GB), official controls in meat establishments by Food Standards Scotland (FSS), aquatic animal health services by Marine Scotland, and statutory animal health and welfare functions and enforcement by local authorities. The Programme Board may also identify other functions for consideration. We anticipate that the scope will be determined before March 2023 and the SVS will be created within the life of the current Parliament (May 2026).

The Programme Board will consist of a number of senior officials from the Scottish Government, FSS, APHA and Scottish local authorities. This will bring together the combined knowledge and understanding from the various organisations that may make up components of the SVS. Thank you for your various suggestions, which we will make sure the Programme Board are made aware of.

In relation to the question about salmon farm visits, the Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) have a publically available Charter, which advises that they will normally contact the fish farmer before an inspection to agree a mutually convenient time. However, this also advises that unannounced visits may also be necessary, for example in the event of an outbreak of a serious disease or when they are investigating alleged offences.

The FHI also have arrangements with wider Marine Scotland assets to facilitate unannounced fish health inspections at marine farms if that is required.

For information, the number of inspections that are made of fish farms by the FHI is available at Publication of Fish Health Inspectorate information - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).

APHA also work with Scottish salmon farms. As the APHA are presently a separate government agency, I suggest that you contact them for details of the what work they undertake. You can contact your local APHA office in Scotland via this link.

Thank you for your comments about the welfare of animals in laboratories. I can confirm that is a reserved matter, and so responsibility will remain with the Home Office.

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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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