Scottish Animal Welfare Commission: ornamental birds – response from Minister 20 December 2023

A response from the Minister for Energy and the Environment, Gillian Martin, to the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC), regarding the group's letter sent on 24 November 2023.

From: Gillian Martin MSP, Minister for Energy and the Environment
To: Professor Cathy Dwyer, Chair, Scottish Animal Welfare Commission

Many thanks for your letter, on behalf of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, dated 24th November. I fully understand SAWC’s concerns regarding the pinioning of captive birds. I understand that this is a surgical amputation that leaves birds permanently disabled and potentially in chronic pain. 

My officials are considering potential options for change around the pinioning of birds, and around some other mutilations that are currently exempted from the ban.  It is my intention that a consultation be issued in due course seeking views on potential amendments to the Prohibited Procedures on Protected Animals (Exemptions) (Scotland) Regulations 2010. SAWC will, of course, be invited to respond to that consultation.

In the meantime, if you have any information on the actual practice of pinioning at present in Scotland; for example it’s prevalence, what categories of persons undertakes it, and the proportion of pinionings where it is chosen to use anaesthesia; this would be most appreciated.

Yours sincerely


Gillian Martin

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