1. Word from the Chair
I am very pleased to be able to introduce this second annual review of the activities of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) since its last report in October 2021. Despite the continuing difficult global circumstances, the SAWC Commissioners have now begun to have some face to face meetings to discuss activities, which have been very useful for detailed discussions, although online meetings and hybrid meetings are also in place and can be time efficient methods of meeting. The Commission continues to be very active in developing its work to address specific issues, and publishing reports as will be detailed below.
As the work of SAWC has become more developed, and processes more mature, work has continued to focus on issues they perceive to be very timely, and relevant to delivering on their remit, considering important welfare issues for wildlife and companion animals. 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, and in response to requests for input from Scottish ministers and the RAINE committee. 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 continued to develop strong working links with related groups. The SAWC Chair and secretariat participated in the annual EuroFAWC meeting in June and SAWC members regularly attend meetings of the Animal Welfare Committee (formerly Farm Animal Welfare Committee). The SAWC chair has also been seconded to one of the AWC working groups on lamb castration and tail-docking and SAWC invites the Chair of AWC to attend SAWC plenary meetings. SAWC looks forward to continuing close and supportive contact with AWC and with the new Animal Sentience Committee. SAWC also maintains close working relationships with the Wild Animal Welfare Committee, which contributes to reports on wildlife matters. These contacts ensure that SAWC is able to provide a strong and impartial view on animal welfare for Scottish farm, companion and wild animals.
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