Scottish Animal Welfare Commission minutes: December 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission on 11 December 2020.

Attendees and apologies


Commission Members:

  • Cathy Dwyer, Chair
  • Harvey Carruthers
  • Andrew Kitchener
  • Mike Flynn
  • Libby Anderson
  • Mike Radford
  • Tim Parkin
  • Simon Girling
  • Pete Goddard
  • Marie Haskell
  • Paula Boyden
  • James Yeates

Animal Welfare Committee:

  • Peter Jinman, Chair

Scottish Government:

  • Andrew Voas, Veterinary Head of Animal Welfare
  • Andy McKinlay, Policy Officer and Secretariat Support, Animal Welfare Team
  • Leia Fitzgerald, Team Leader, Wildlife Management Team


  • Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Unfortunately the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment was unavailable to join the meeting, but hopes to attend in future.         

Updates and activity since last plenary meeting


There has been a lot of activity since the last plenary meeting in September:

  • increased amount of work group activity (as per updates in afternoon session)
  • contributing to a number of consultations, including on the SG Animal Welfare Regulations 2021; and on animal welfare in transport.
  • handling an increased amount of stakeholder correspondence
  • joining the European Forum for Animal Welfare Councils (EuroFAWC), which holds its next annual meeting in May/June

Increase in concerns and debate on:

  • salmon farming
  • welfare issues around the importation of dogs for rehoming from overseas
  • beavers

Scottish Government

  • animals and Wildlife Act provisions have commenced – including an increase in penalties, Finn’s Law in force, and powers to introduce legislation with fixed penalty notices in future
  • on-going work with the puppy trade campaign, through SSPCA, including a lot of social media coverage
  • taking forward the Zoo and Aquarium Animal Welfare Fund
  • aware of increased backings for a ban on keeping primates as pets - Action: all to carefully monitor this issue over the coming weeks      

Work group updates


The work group’s statement is in its final stages, with more revision to be done on the appendices to provide context. Members agreed that this should be published on the web page shortly thereafter.


  • work group to make further revisions before finalising and publishing early in the new year
  • secretariat to set up the next work group meeting for early in the new year

Glue traps

Since the last plenary session, the work group have drafted a report which summarises and analyses all the evidence received from stakeholders. Members agreed further stakeholder consultation is required, followed by another work group meeting in Feb/March. Shortly thereafter the report will be finalised.


  • work group to continue stakeholder engagement, refine the report and reconvene in February/March

Exotic pets

A huge amount of data has been gathered, but members are also awaiting further statements and information from key stakeholders. A meeting with APHA representatives is planned for January.


  • work group to continue to gather data on the level of sale of exotic species and taxa being sold
  • secretariat to set up meeting with APHA representatives


There have been further discussions on the potential for more public exposure on ideas around wildlife welfare at a virtual conference next year. This could take place in the form of video lectures and discussions over a number of days facilitated by a series of experts.  


  • work group to identify dates (potentially in March/April) and stakeholders to make contributions


Members have been drafting a collective response to the Scottish Government’s Management of Wild Deer in Scotland: Deer Working Group report, published in February 2020.  


  • work group to aim to have finalised in the new year


Members are in the initial discussion stages, looking at both main beaver populations in Scotland and plan to have a first work group meeting early in the new year.  


  • work group to decide which stakeholders to provide evidence
  • secretariat to coordinate first work group meeting in January

Work plan discussion

Members focused on the items listed as “medium term” in the work plan. It was agreed that issues around salmon farming/aquaculture and electronic collars had been drawing in an increasing amount of concern.  


  • work groups to be set up on aquaculture and e-collars, with first meetings to be held in the new year

It was also reaffirmed that SAWC’s annual report on animal welfare implications of legislation should be completed and sent to the Minister by June.  


  • work group to be set up specifically looking at legislation and its likely consequences

Peter Jinman, Chair, Animal Welfare Committee (AWC)

Peter Jinman joined the meeting. Members introduced each other and the Chair provided an overview of the activity they have undertaken since SAWC was established.

Peter described the background and broad remit of AWC, its activity and how they work. Peter and members agreed that there can help one another on subjects of mutual interests, and jointly focus on areas which are most important.

Next meeting/s

Commission discussed when the next plenary meeting should take place.     


  • next meeting to take place in March, followed by one in June – Secretariat to set both up      



Back to top