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The programme for government that was announced on 3 September included a commitment to implement Lucy’s law, as part of new licensing legislation that will ban the sale of puppies and kittens that are under six months old by anyone other than the breeder.
A whole host of measures are being undertaken to improve animal welfare in general. I will outline just some of those, which I hope will not test the patience of the Presiding Officer too much.
In addition to introducing Lucy’s law with a modern licensing system for dog, cat and rabbit breeders, we are committed to ambitious improvements to animal welfare. As I said, a number of strands of work are under way.
We will increase the maximum penalties for animal cruelty and wildlife crime in the animal health and welfare bill; protect service animals through Lucy’s law; assist permanent rehoming of at-risk animals; rerun our highly effective awareness campaign on the responsible purchase of young animals; introduce compulsory closed-circuit television recording in slaughterhouses; and continue to update guidance on livestock welfare.
This week, I announced the appointment of Professor Cathy Dwyer, who has a wealth of experience in animal welfare, as the first chair of the animal welfare commission. Recruitment for other members of the commission will commence shortly so that Scottish ministers are provided with expert advice.