Section 4 — Arrest, search and seizure

Part of Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:15 pm on 13th February 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell Conservative 4:15 pm, 13th February 2002

I am hopeful—no, I am not hopeful. [Laughter.] Let us not kid anyone. I would like members who support the bill to set out in the debate on this group why they believe that the criminal powers that are contained in section 4 are required for offences of the nature listed in the bill. I hope that that involves not just reading from a brief or quoting from the Rural Development Committee, but setting out coherently and cogently why the crimes require such measures.

The measures are completely over the top. If members were discussing any other issue and were concerned with civil liberties, they would not allow legislation to be passed that contains a phrase such as "appears to belong to". The phrase is totally meaningless; it allows too great an infringement of an individual's personal liberties relative to the offence. The phrase should be rejected unless it can be coherently argued for.

My view is that the bill does not provide sufficient safeguards in respect of animals that are seized or detained in the course of an arrest or a criminal inquiry. Amendment 15 is an attempt to insert a subsection that would require animals, birds of prey or possibly even fish to be cared for immediately after they are seized or detained. Amendment 15 also attempts to address a legitimate concern among people who feel threatened by the bill that animals—some of which may be very valuable or highly trained—could be put down because no proper arrangement has been made for them.

It is regrettable that, although we hear a great deal about the welfare of foxes from members, including Cathy Peattie, we do not hear about the welfare of rabbits. Cathy Peattie may have a stuffed fox on her desk, but she is in favour of rabbits being torn apart by dogs. If she thought that that was cruel, she could have included a provision in the bill to outlaw it.

Amendment 15 would allow animals that are seized or detained to be kept and not put down without the consent of the owner.

I move amendment 13.