Biodiversity and Animal Protection

There is no longer any statutory protection for Scotland’s most outstanding landscapes – its 40 National Scenic Areas.

There were over 2,600,000 ‘scientific procedures’ carried out on animals in the UK in 2001.

Over 700 million chickens are reared in welfare poor, intensive systems in the UK each year.

The protection of our planet’s environment, ecosystems, natural resources, wildlife habitats and biodiversity is of paramount importance. Given our capacity to destroy, we have a responsibility to protect and conserve those other species with which we share the planet, and to leave a planet for future generations that is no less diverse than the one that we inhabit today.

The Scottish Green Party recognises that all living things are interconnected; yet we still have a limited understanding of these connections and their importance. For this reason we should use the precautionary principle: before embarking on something new, we must consider very carefully whether it is safe or not and should not go ahead until convinced that it is. The burden of proof of harmlessness of a new technology, process, activity, or chemical therefore lies with those proposing it, rather than with the general public to prove its harmfulness.

Scotland has its own role to play in establishing high standards for the relationship between humans and other species. Animals are capable of experiencing pain and suffering and Scotland should be an example to the world of a society based on moral and ethical values of care and compassion for all living things. No individual animal should suffer unnecessarily, nor should the future survival of any species be threatened at our whim.

Green MSPs will work for the following:

  • We will ensure the completion and delivery of an adequately resourced Scottish Biodiversity Strategy to help integrate and co-ordinate Government activity across all sectors impacting on our natural heritage.

  • We will create a dedicated Animal Welfare Unit within the Scottish Executive and ensure the employment of a co-ordinated network of Animal Welfare Officers by local authorities. We will increase the number of, and powers of, police wildlife liaison officers, and specialists in wildlife crime will be appointed to the Procurator Fiscal’s office to handle relevant cases. We will also increase the penalties for those found guilty of criminal offences against animals.

  • We will establish and fund a Scottish scientific centre for the development of alternatives to animal experimentation. We will establish a moratorium on the cloning and genetic engineering of animals pending a wide-ranging investigation into their ethical, moral and scientific impacts. We will immediately abolish all battery and enriched egg production systems and replace them with free-range systems, and end the live export of animals from Scotland for slaughter or fattening abroad.

  • We will end the use of animals in circuses and the practice of giving live animals as prizes at fairgrounds. We will review regulations controlling zoos to ensure that they provide an adequate standard of accommodation for their captive animals and benefit wild populations. We will also ensure that the ban on hunting with hounds is continued and defended. A compulsory licensing scheme for pet shops will be introduced making it an offence to sell pets to those under the age of 16. We will also introduce a two-tier system of licensing and registration (breeding and non-breeding) for all dog owners, and a low-cost spaying and neutering scheme throughout the country.

  • We will designate Scottish waters as a whale and dolphin sanctuary to support Scotland’s burgeoning eco-tourism industry, and we will work co-operatively to achieve an end to commercial whaling worldwide.

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Scottish Green Party, PO Box 14080, Edinburgh EH10 6YG
Tel / Fax: 0131 478 7896
e-mail: info@scottishgreens.org.uk