Scottish Animal Welfare Commission minutes: 3 May 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 3 May 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) members

  • Cathy Dwyer, Chair
  • Harvey Carruthers
  • Mike Flynn
  • Libby Anderson
  • Mike Radford
  • Andrew Kitchener
  • Simon Girling
  • Pete Goddard
  • Paula Boyden
  • Marie Haskell
  • Ellie Wigham

Scottish Government

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


  • James Yeates, SAWC

Items and actions

Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) members

The Chair welcomed the members to the second SAWC plenary meeting of 2023. This marks almost three years since SAWC was established.

Updates and activity since last plenary meeting


Since the last plenary meeting in January 2023:

SAWC published:

SAWC responded to a consultation on the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill

Established a new working group to look at responsible cat ownership

Responded to a number of pieces of correspondence in relation to the recently published reports

SAWC’s working groups have continued to work on a range of animal welfare issues (see Work Group Updates section below)

Scottish Government

Officials continue to monitor and work with DEFRA on issues which may extend to Scotland or have a potential impact in Scotland, including a shared interest on future microchipping legislation

Continued discussions on a future Scottish Veterinary Service, which is a Programme for Government commitment

Careful consideration of SAWC’s recommendations in the recently published reports on e-collars, greyhounds and ADDs in salmon farming

Discussions on updating codes of practice/guidance for farmed species

Discussions around unacceptable treatment of animals abroad

On current PfG commitments, work and discussions are ongoing regarding:

  • reviewing animal health and welfare and wildlife legislation by 2025
  • reviewing arrangements for information sharing between enforcement authorities
  • improvements to animal transport legislation
  • phasing out cages for game birds, laying hens and ferrying crates for pigs

Work group updates


A report on the use of acoustic deterrent devices in salmon farming was published on 6 March. The working group have continued to meet to discuss other areas relating to animal welfare concerns, including around sea lice and mortality rates. It was agreed to initially progress the issue of cleaner fish.

Dog training

A report on the use of e-collars in dog training was published on 11 April. The group continues to discuss other aversive training measures.


Following the publication of its report in December, the working group continues to meet to discuss ongoing issues.

Wildlife welfare

SAWC responded to a consultation on the Wildlife Management and Muirburn (Scotland) Bill

Work Group Members have continued to have further discussions about licensing in relation to hunting with dogs.

The SAWC Secretariat is working with the NatureScot Secretariat to arrange a catch up meeting between the two.


A report on the welfare of greyhounds used for racing in Scotland was published on 28 February.

Local authorities handling animal welfare issues

The working group have held a number of meetings to continue discussing these issues. 

Responsible cat ownership

Two meetings have been held since this new working group was established in February. Members have consulted policy documents and positions of other agencies and countries, as well as beginning a literature review. They continue to debate what the scope and limits of the group’s focus should be.

Work plan discussion

Members discussed what potential revisions should be made to the current work plan

Update on UK Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) work

Some of the ongoing work by AWC includes activity around the following areas:

  • castration and docking of lambs
  • killing of fish
  • avian influenza control
  • poultry catching and handling
  • alternatives to culling of male layer chicks
  • international rehoming of dogs
  • precision breeding and animal welfare

Next meeting/s

The next plenary meeting will take place on 15th August 2023.

Any other business

Confirmation has been made that EuroFAWC’s next annual meeting will take place on 6-7 June in the Hague. Cathy represented SAWC last year and will attend again this year. The programme has recently been confirmed and circulated.

Back to top