Scottish Animal Welfare Commission minutes: 18 March 2020

Minutes from the first meeting of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission.


Commission Members:

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

Scottish Government:

  • Andrew Voas – Veterinary Head of Animal Welfare
  • John Nicolson – Policy Manager, Animal Welfare Team
  • Andy McKinlay – Policy Officer and Secretariat Support, Animal Welfare Team




Actions and Decisions


Welcome and Introductions



Ways of working and interactions with other groupings (e.g UK AWC)

Commission agreed that a formal register of interests where members declare their potential conflicts of interest should be published.

Agreed that we would share opinions and reports with UK counterparts (Animal Welfare Committee (AWC), formerly FAWC), in order to build links and avoid duplication of work.

Discussion about whether there will be an opportunity for a web-based resource to be established through which members can access shared documents.

Suggestion to find a way to explain reasoning behind Commission’s decisions which can be provided to the public.



Commission to discuss and draft this in coming months, for publishing online. Update – published online 26 June.


Secretariat to speak to IT about best tools for implementing this.


Commission to discuss how to prioritise this and then publish online.


Sentience and “Guardians of Sentience”

Commission agreed it is vital to set out the definitions of and relationships between Animal Welfare and Sentience, including to which animal groups they should be extended.

Commission asked for a background document giving an overview of the mechanics of policy making and the legislative process in the Scottish Government.

Commission discussed the requirement to produce annual reports.

Discussion around regulatory impact assessments, produced to inform the introduction of new legislation.



Commission to set up a working group to discuss and draft a working document defining Animal Welfare and Sentience.


Secretariat to send to the Commission.


Commission will produce an annual report in Autumn/Winter each year, analysing the impact on Animal Welfare by Scottish Government policy.



Workplans, Planning and Prioritising

Discussion of a report which is available on Livestock Worrying.

Discussion on Wildcats, and whether Scottish Natural Heritage guidance covers their welfare.

Discussion on working groups. 



Secretariat to send to Commission.


Andrew K to check and confirm with group.


Chair to organise a plan and ask for volunteers (note now circulated).



Future approach to Communications and possible development of standalone SAWC website

Discussion around SAWC website.

Discussion around the sharing of documents and how to access them from a shared source.



Secretariat to speak to web team to see what is required for SAWC page to be added to website. Update – published online 26 June.


Secretariat to look into best platform to achieve this on (Microsoft Teams was a suggestion).





Summary of aims

Short Term Aims

  • Feedback on guidance associated with SG’s new licensing regulations before end of the year
  • Prioritise two wildlife projects, looking at:
  • Deer Management Issues
  • Glue Traps

Longer Term Aims and Topics to consider

  • Look at idea of codes vs guidance
  • Set up separate working group on Exotic Pets
  • Sustainability and aquaculture practices
  • Performing Animals
  • Racing – welfare of horses and greyhounds
  • Decapods and Crustaceans
  • Welfare issues  with reintroduced animals (Scottish wildcat)
  • Rewilding of animals
  • Potential of mobile abattoirs




Next meeting/s:

Commission discussed when future meetings should take place.



Next meeting to take place in the second half of August, followed by one at the beginning of December.



Commission highlighted the commitment Andrew V has shown in putting together SAWC, and commended his hard work in getting to this stage.





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