Animals Abroad Bill

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 28 April 2022.

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Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what its response is regarding the impact on Scotland of recent reports that the United Kingdom Government’s Animals Abroad Bill is no longer likely to be introduced. (S6O-01006)

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is deeply concerned to hear of reports that the proposed Animals Abroad Bill might not be introduced.

In principle, Scottish ministers are supportive of proposals in the bill, which, if introduced, will address important animal welfare and conservation issues simultaneously across UK Administrations—subject, of course, to the legislative consent of the Scottish Parliament in areas of devolved competence.

I wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, on 11 April 2022 to express my concerns and to request information on the current intentions in respect of the bill. I am currently waiting on a response from him.

Photo of David Torrance David Torrance Scottish National Party

The bill was supposed to include bans on the trade in hunting trophies that threaten the conservation status of species abroad and on the domestic sale and advertising of experiences overseas that are cruel to animals, such as elephant rides.

Will the cabinet secretary join me in expressing revulsion at the practice of trophy hunting and other practices that perpetrate animal cruelty? Does she agree that the weekend pursuits of a handful of Tory peers should not decide the approach to the rights and welfare of animals?

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

I join the member in condemning some of the objectionable practices that the bill so importantly seeks to address. The Scottish Government is absolutely committed to the highest possible standards of animal welfare. In our programme for government, we promised to work alongside UK Administrations on legislation to control the import and sale of products that raise ethical concerns. The bill would have brought in the necessary requirements simultaneously across the UK to address those conservation and animal welfare concerns. The UK Government even tabled those proposals as demonstrating UK leadership at an international level. However, it has sadly failed to deliver those important safeguards and has not only let down the people of Scotland but failed to prioritise the welfare of animals in this country as well as abroad.