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Scottish AWB ‘must not privatise inspections’

Janet Nunn

The Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Bill must not pass animal welfare inspections away from statutory bodies to private agencies, the Pet Care Trust warned today.

Giving oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment and Rural Development Committee this morning, Chief Executive Janet Nunn told MSPs of the Trust’s concerns.

"Statutory bodies are subject to controls and sanctions that would not apply to private bodies," she said. "There is a potential for conflict of financial interest if the role is passed to an organisation like the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which conducts fundraising for its animal welfare work generally."

Speaking after giving evidence, Ms Nunn expressed concern about the committee’s apparent lack of clarity on the difference between licensing and registration. While the Pet Care Trust supports the licensing of commercial pet fairs, it does not support unnecessary regulation of smaller hobby shows.

"There are so many activities involving animals in some way, from running pet shops and sanctuaries to holding gymkhanas and rabbit shows, that it will not be feasible to licence them all as some would wish."

"The committee needs to understand that a licence is a permission to do business or hold an event, without which that activity is illegal. We estimate that there are almost 10,000 pet shows held in the UK each year. It cannot be in anybody’s interest to subject them to heavy bureaucracy that is not needed and would merely stifle the enthusiasm that comes from hobby activities."