Call for greater animal welfare protection

Scottish voters are calling on the incoming parliament to do more to protect animals from cruelty and suffering, according to a new poll.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 11th April 2016, 3:03 pm
Updated Monday, 11th April 2016, 3:14 pm
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Chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo keep their cool by sucking on fruit ice poles

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JP License Edinburgh Zoo Chimpanzees at Edinburgh Zoo keep their cool by sucking on fruit ice poles Neil Hanna Photography 07702 246823

Online pet trading, keeping wild animals as pets, controversial shock collars and snares all aroused strong feelings, according to a national opinion poll, carried out by YouGov.

The poll was carried out on behalf of a coalition of animal welfare charities, which also addressed circus animals, slaughter techniques and hunting.

OneKind director Harry Huyton said: “Scotland has long been thought of as a nation of animal lovers and these new polling figures show this is clearly the case but also illustrates an electorate that wants to see positive change which benefits animal welfare. Once the polls close on May 5 the public want more for Scotland’s animals from the incoming Government and newly elected members.”

Of those polled, 87 per cent agree that regulations should be introduced to protect pets which are traded online while only two per cent disagree. Seventy nine per cent believe there should be a ban on the keeping of primates as pets with only five per cent opposed and 77 per cent want to see a ban on electric shock collars for dogs.

Of the more controversial issues such as fox hunting, driven grouse shooting and tail docking, the public is still in favour of changes to the law to improve welfare. Fifty two per cent agree driven grouse shooting should be banned with 19 per cent opposed to a ban; 67 per cent support widening the fox hunting ban to ensure packs of dogs don’t chase foxes with only 11 per cent opposing this change; and 71 per cent believe the ban on tail docking of puppies, which is currently under review, should be maintained.

Other issues polled included ending the use of wild animals in circuses, prohibiting the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops and an end to non-stun slaughter of farm animals.

Senior Vet and Head of Pet Health at vet charity PDSA, Nicola Martin, said: “Scotland is forward thinking when it comes to animal welfare legislation but there is still a huge way to go to end needless suffering. We urge the incoming Government to ensure appropriate laws are in place to provide the highest possible standards of animal welfare.”

Steve Goody, Blue Cross Deputy Chief Executive, said: “We’re really pleased to be working alongside other charities and have been asking all candidates to pledge to do more for Scotland’s animals ahead of the Scottish elections, and are hopeful that together we can make a real difference to pet welfare in Scotland. The Scottish Government has already taken some big steps forward when it comes to protecting pets, but there is still more to be done.”

Robbie Marsland, Director, League Against Cruel Sports Scotland said “The Scottish public knows what it wants when it comes to good animal welfare, so all we need now is a Parliament that delivers it.

These issues will be discussed and debated at the More for Scotland’s Animals Hustings on April 14 at the Edinburgh City Chambers.