Developments in Animal Welfare Law in Scotland 2023.

28 October 2023 

12.00 – 2.30pm – Edinburgh


Recent developments in animal welfare law in Scotland 


In 1850, Victorian legislators judged it “expedient to prevent wanton Cruelty in the Treatment of Horses, Cattle, and other domestic Animals, in Scotland”.  Among other things, the Act for the more effectual prevention of cruelty to animals in Scotland outlawed practices that were still common at the time – such as beating animals or organising bull baiting and cock fighting – and brought in licences to improve the treatment of horses at slaughter.  

Animal welfare law in Scotland has come a long way since those first, limited steps.  Recent years have seen important milestones along the road to more comprehensive protection for animals, largely underpinned by a greater recognition of animal sentience. 

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 replaced antiquated early 20th-century legislation, placing a statutory duty of care on persons responsible for animals’ welfare.  Further legislation in 2020 updated the Act and improved protection for wild animals, whose welfare needs have historically been largely overlooked. 

Also in 2020, the Scottish Ministers appointed a Scottish Animal Welfare Commission to review how the welfare needs of sentient animals are being met by devolved policy and to advise on routes to further protection. 

Breeding, selling and rehoming companion animals were reformed by new licensing measures introduced in 2021, and these will soon be augmented by a major suite of new regulations covering businesses providing dog walking, dog grooming, livery services and canine fertility services.  There are also proposals to license greyhound racing in Scotland and to update existing licensing requirements for animal boarding (including day care) and riding establishments.

If you are interested in animals, in the law or – better still – in both, please join us for a lunchtime seminar in Edinburgh on Saturday 28 October.  The agenda will include: 

·      Introduction to A-LAW

·      Round up of recent animal welfare legislation

·      New licensing measures to protect animals

·      Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023

·      Scottish Animal Welfare Commission

·      Questions and discussion


Meet other lawyers and animal advocates interested in advancing the interests of animals through law.
Learn about current issues in animal law and policy and how you can contribute to positive change.

Meet the speakers

Libby Anderson

Libby is a retired animal welfare policy advisor, most recently for the campaigning charity OneKind (formerly Advocates for Animals) based in Edinburgh.  Libby has worked on policy aspects of legislation such as the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, Marine (Scotland) Act, Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011, Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (Scotland) Act 2018, Animal Welfare (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act 2020 and Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Act 2023.  She was involved in founding the Cross-Party Group on Animal Welfare in the Scottish Parliament and acted as Secretary for several years.  Currently, she is the Secretary of the Wild Animal Welfare Committee and a Member of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission.

Paula Sparks.

Paula is Chairperson of the UK Centre for Animal Law (A-law). She was previous in practice as a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers. Paula has an interest in animal law and regularly lectures and writes on topics around animal law and policy; she was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Winchester teaching animal law and policy between 2017-2023. She is a contributing editor to the Routledge Handbook of Animal Welfare (2023). 

Hannah Moneagle.

Hannah is a practising Scottish Solicitor, an formerly Law Lecturer and the Director of the Grampian Community Law Centre, which forms part of Robert Gordon University’s Law School. Hannah is an Associate of the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland, a member of Police Scotland’s North East Wildlife and Rural Crime Working Groups, a member of the UK Centre for Animal Law’s wildlife working group and Scottish steering group, and the former Crime and Advocacy Advisor for Scottish Badgers. Hannah has hands-on experience in animal rescue and advocacy, and was previously the appointed Animal Ambassador for Willows Animal Sanctuary and Animal-Assisted Therapy Unit, and a volunteer Care Worker at the North East Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre, both in Aberdeenshire.

Charlotte Edgar.

Charlotte is a commercial litigation solicitor qualified in Scots and English law. She has a strong interest in animal protection legislation, animal legal philosophy, and strategic litigation involving animal welfare issues. She recently studied for an online Masters degree (LLM) in Animal Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Charlotte shares her life with two horses and in her spare time, enjoys exploring the beautiful Scottish countryside.

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