The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee met on May 26th to agree amendments to Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill.
Apart from some admirable proposals, such as extending protections to animals such as octopodes, crabs and lobsters (Colin Smyth), lawmakers are missing the point completely.
The flaw running through the whole structure is welfare legislation is often not enforced in the first place.
It can be extremely difficult to get Police Scotland to accept the reporting of an offence, and if they do, often no action is taken.
If action is taken there’s no assurance that Procurators Fiscal will pursue a prosecution. If they do, most offenders walk from court either simply admonished, or with a limited “ban” which almost certainly will not be monitored.
This is the fundamental issue. If law isn’t even enforced, the legislation’s effectively useless.
What our politicians plans amount to is the suggestion that if you fit a brand new exhaust to a car with no engine, it’ll make it go faster.
Stage 3 is next, and this is the last chance we’ll have to actually make effective change to the Bill.
Please take a couple of minutes to contact your MSPs and ask that they commit to supporting Scotland for Animals five points for change;
- All animals, including invertebrates, to be protected by law
- A maximum life sentence/ unlimited fine for animal cruelty
- The creation of a dedicated Police Scotland unit to investigate animal cruelty and enforce legislation
- The creation of a register for those convicted of cruelty
- Statutory requirement for a multi-agency approach for reporting, investigation and intervention
Your voice can make the difference.