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Greater legal protections for service animals in Scotland
Finn's Law will make it harder for those who harm service animals to claim they were acting in self-defence.
Animals and Wildlife Bill passes final reading. 

New legal protections for service animals and increased prison sentences for animal cruelty are to be introduced in Scotland.

The move follows the passing of the Animals and Wildlife Bill in Scottish Parliament on Wednesday (17 June) and will see maximum jail sentences for those convicted of animal cruelty increase from six months to five years.

It will also see the introduction of Finn's Law, making it harder for those who harm service animals, such as police dogs and horses, to claim they were acting in self-defence.

Animal welfare enforcement agencies will also receive new powers, enabling them to take animals into their care without the need for a court order.

“This Bill is an important milestone in Scotland’s long tradition of protecting our animals and wildlife,” commented rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon. “The increased maximum available penalties reflect the seriousness of some of the very cruel crimes seen against domestic and wild animals - although these cases are thankfully rare.”

Welcoming the news, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) – which has long campaigned for the new law -  described it as 'game-changing' for both animals and the organisation.

“This is a momentous day for animal welfare in Scotland,” said Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell. “The proposals which will be enshrined in law will deliver wholesale, transformational change for animals nationwide.”

She added: “The inconsistency of sentences handed out to those guilty of animal cruelty has long been a frustration. We are hopeful increased sentencing and unlimited fines will act as a greater deterrent to people in mistreating animals and ensure the punishments befits the crime for the worst offences, such as animal fighting and puppy farming.”

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Tickets on sale for horse welfare conference

News Story 1
 Tickets are now on sale for the 'Welfare and Performance of the Ridden Horse' conference, due to take place at Nottingham University on Saturday, 11 December 2021.

World-renowned researchers, including Prof. Hilary Clayton and Dr Sue Dyson, will deliver the latest research updates. There will also be interactive Q&A sessions throughout the day, interactive polls and a fun evening of entertainment.

Organisers say that in the event of further coronavirus restrictions, day tickets will be transferred to livestream tickets. For more information about the conference and to book your place, click here.  

Click here for more...
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More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.