Word from the Chair
I am very pleased to be able to introduce this first annual review of the activities of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) since its inception in June 2020. SAWC began under difficult global circumstances, and the Commissioners have still not yet been able to hold a face to face meeting to discuss activities. However, the Commission has been very active in developing a workplan, setting up relevant work groups to address specific issues, and publishing reports as will be detailed below.
The initial actions of SAWC have been to focus on issues they perceive to be very timely, and relevant to delivering on their remit, such as developing a working definition of animal sentience. Other issues that were also considered this year were those where there was a timely or important need to express an opinion for Scotland’s animals. Although SAWC takes guidance and requests from Scottish Government and others, it is independent in forming the workplan, and any recommendations are arrived at on the basis of evidence, considered from the point of view of animal welfare costs or benefits.
SAWC has also developed strong working links with related groups, through regular attendance at meetings of the Animal Welfare Committee (formerly Farm Animal Welfare Committee), invitations to the Chair of AWC to attend SAWC plenary meetings, close working with the Wild Animal Welfare Committee, and membership of EURO-FAWC. Through these links and contacts, SAWC intends to be able to provide a strong and impartial view on animal welfare for Scottish farm, companion and wild animals.