Horse welfare

The Scottish Conservatives are committed to improving the welfare of ponies, horses and donkeys in Scotland with every animal contributing an important role in our society, from pony and donkey rides for children, to police horses who protect us and keep us safe.
The Scottish Conservatives are committed to the highest standards of animal welfare across the board. We are clear that those who abuse and inflict cruelty on animals should be punished with the full force of the law. In Scotland, inspectors employed by the Scottish Society for Protection of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), local authority inspectors and police officers are all able to take possession of animals, including horses, and any dependent offspring if cruelty is suspected. I would expect many local authorities to use their granted powers to protect animal welfare, working alongside the SPCA and the local police.
The SPCA is a reporting agency to the Crown Office and their investigators are authorised to enforce the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. This means an inspector is able to enter land without a warrant where an animal is suffering. It also provides powers to seek a warrant to enter land and premises using force if necessary, and seize animals or any item believed to be evidence of a relevant offence.
The Animal and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill was published in October 2019. The Scottish Conservatives supported the passing of this Bill, which strengthens animal cruelty penalties and improves powers for front-line enforcement agencies, including increasing the maximum penalties for the
most serious animal welfare and wildlife offences to five years imprisonment and increases the maximum penalties for various other offences. I welcome the fact that this bill included the maximum five-year sentence that was called for and that it has now been passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament. Those who neglect
or abuse horses, ponies or donkeys should receive penalties for their actions.
We proudly stood up for the rights of all service animals, including horses. Finn’s Law was campaigned for by Liam Kerr alongside PC Dave Wardell, a Police dog handler, to introduce a new criminal offence of harming or killing a service animal.