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Scotland to establish Animal Welfare Commission
The Commission will advise on breeding legislation and the licencing of rehoming centres.
Commission will advise on breeding legislation and attacks on police dogs

The Scottish Government has announced that it is to establish an Animal Welfare Commission to advise on the welfare of domesticated and wild animals in Scotland and ensure standards are maintained after Brexit.

The new commission was announced on Tuesday (11 September) as part of the Scottish Government’s 2018-19 programme. It will see welfare organisations and other key stakeholders working with government across key animal welfare issues, including attacks on police dogs, breeding legislation and the licensing of animal sanctuaries and rehoming centres.

Welcoming the initiative, BVA Scottish Branch president Melissa Donald said: “This is a great move which demonstrates the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to animal welfare.  It is vitally important to ensure that animal welfare standards are at least maintained and where possible improved post-Brexit, so establishing a specialist group with this remit will help to channel expertise with a clear goal in mind.

“BVA has fed into consultations on sanctuaries and rehoming centres and emphasised the importance of strengthened, clear and considered regulation which prioritises the health and welfare of animals in these environments.  We also support strengthened protections for all ‘protected animals’ as defined in the Animal Welfare Act.”

“We look forward to seeing proposals in due course for other animal activities including breeding and pet sales. At a minimum, these should be aligned with the incoming Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations to ensure high standards of animal welfare across the UK and prevent loopholes in licensing legislation between nations.”

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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ASF traces found in seized meat at NI airport

More than 300kg of illegal meat and dairy products were seized at Northern Ireland’s airports in June, DAERA has revealed.

A sample of these were tested at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, resulting in the detection of African swine fever DNA fragments.

DAERA said that while the discovery does not pose a significant threat to Northern Ireland’s animal health status, it underlines the importance of controls placed on personal imports of meat and dairy products. Holidaymakers travelling overseas are being reminded not to bring any animal or plant products back home.