Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

– in the Scottish Parliament on 24 March 2021.

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Photo of Kenneth Macintosh Kenneth Macintosh Labour

The next item of business is stage 3 proceedings on the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill.

In dealing with the amendments, members should have with them the marshalled list, the bill as amended at stage 2 and the groupings of amendments. I remind members that, if we have a vote, the division bell will sound and proceedings will be suspended for five minutes. Each vote will last for one minute.

The Presiding Officer:

Group 1 is on minor and technical amendments. Amendment 1, in the name of Emma Harper, is grouped with amendments 2 to 4.

Photo of Emma Harper Emma Harper Scottish National Party

I will be happy to move amendment 1 and speak to all the amendments in the group, which are minor and technical. At stage 2, the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee agreed to an amendment that Jamie Halcro Johnston lodged whose aim was to clarify that woodland that is used for grazing was included in the definition of agricultural land. I had no strong views on whether that change was needed but, as the minister and the committee believed that the change would be helpful, I supported the amendment.

Technical issues were subsequently identified with the drafting of Mr Halcro Johnston’s amendment, and amendments 1 and 2 will rectify those deficiencies. There will be no change to the substantive effect of Mr Halcro Johnston’s amendment.

Amendment 3 will remove section 8. Section 129 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 provides a defence for anyone who has killed or injured a dog if that was done to defend livestock from attack by the dog. When the bill was being drafted, we thought that it would be sensible to amend the terminology in section 129 to be in line with the changes that we were to make to the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and to ensure that the same definition of livestock was used in both acts.

However, it was pointed out to me at a late stage that section 129 of the 1982 act has already been repealed except to the extent that it provides a definition of livestock for the purposes of section 74 of the 1982 act, which allows people who find living creatures other than stray dogs or livestock to keep them if they are unclaimed after two months. As section 129 of the 1982 act is no longer relevant to protecting livestock, there is no need for the bill to amend it. Accordingly, section 8 of the bill can be removed.

Amendment 4 is a minor tidying-up amendment. Section 9 includes section 6(4) in the provisions that are to be commenced the day after royal assent, but section 6(4) merely provides for the parliamentary procedure for regulations that are made under the power that section 6(3) creates, and there is no point in commencing one ahead of the other.

That anomaly came about because, in the bill as introduced, section 6(4) also provided for the parliamentary procedure for regulations to appoint inspecting bodies. Once the power to make such regulations was removed at stage 2, there was no longer any need for early commencement of section 6(4). Amendment 4 will clarify the commencement timing issues.

I move amendment 1.

Photo of Jamie Halcro Johnston Jamie Halcro Johnston Conservative

I was going to ask Emma Harper for a little more clarification about amendment 3, but she has provided that. I thank her and the minister for their constructive approach to my vital clarification in relation to grazing. We will support all the amendments.

Photo of Ben Macpherson Ben Macpherson Scottish National Party

The Scottish ministers fully support these technical amendments, which will improve the drafting of this important bill.

The Presiding Officer:

That was short and sweet.

Does Ms Harper wish to add anything to wind up?

Photo of Emma Harper Emma Harper Scottish National Party

I am happy that the minor and technical amendments will be made and I am happy to proceed.

Amendment 1 agreed to.

Amendment 2 moved—[Emma Harper]—and agreed to.

Section 8—Consequential amendments to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982:

Amendment 3 moved—[Emma Harper]—and agreed to.

Section 9—Commencement:

Amendment 4 moved—[Emma Harper]—and agreed to.

The Presiding Officer:

That ends consideration of amendments.

As members might be aware, at this point in proceedings, I am required under standing orders to decide whether in my view any provision of the bill relates to a protected subject matter—that is, whether it modifies the electoral system or franchise for Scottish parliamentary elections. In my view, the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill does no such thing, so it does not require a supermajority to be passed at stage 3.