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The Council’s Animal Policy sets out it’s position on a range of animal welfare issues and aims to provide elected members, Council officials, the business sector and the general public with information and guidance on these issues. It embraces the following principles:
- The Council is convinced that we all have responsibility to our fellow creatures. It seeks to inform our citizens about these responsibilities and explain how best they can be met.
- In considering the welfare of domestic or captive animals due regard should be had to the principles (known as the 5 freedoms) that the animals must be accorded:
- freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
- freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
- freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- freedom to express normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and the company of an animal of it’s own kind.
- freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
- In all other circumstances, persons having responsibility for the management of the habitat which impinges on the welfare of any animal involved, directly or indirectly, should observe recognised acceptable good practices.
- The Council will ensure that, so far as it falls within its powers, the requirements of all legislation relating to animals and animal welfare will be rigorously enforced. Animal welfare will be a routine consideration in all reports to appropriate Committees. The policy and appendices will be periodically reviewed and updated, so that amendments to legislation or further developments in animal welfare can be embodied in the policy.
The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 places a duty of care on pet owners and others responsible for animals to ensure that welfare needs of their animals are met. The Act:
- makes it an offence to fail to take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of a protected animal
- makes it an offence to cause a protected animal unnecessary suffering
- prohibits using animals as prizes
- raises the age limit for buying animals
- increases the penalties for animal abuse
- allows the courts to disqualify a person from owning, keeping or being in charge of animals
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