Animals & Wildlife Bill update
We want to offer a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who wrote to their MSPs and supported our valiant MSPs in the debate in Parliament.
You wrote to your MSP’s, the Parliament committee, the Minister, you kept writing and on Wed 17th June the Parliament showed they had listened. Read on for more details on how Parliament voted to help prevent badger suffering in the Animals & Wildlife bill.
- Without dissent the Parliament agreed that sett offences will now have available the higher level of penalties. This is a GREAT OUTCOME and prevents the 1992 act protections from being eroded. Sett and badger offences will now carry 5 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both when tried by solemn procedure, and 12 months or a £40,000 fine or both when tried by summary procedure. Our thanks to badger Species Champion Colin Smyth MSP who did an amazing job, tirelessly and patiently seeking the right outcomes.
- Sett definition will be referred to the new Animal Welfare Commission and the PAW(S) legislation sub-group for wider consultation on the basis that the present 'signs of current use' is too narrow, contrary to nature of the species, and risks destruction of rotationally used setts that are important to the life of the animals. This is GREAT OUTCOME and we are looking forward to taking the work we have already done to these forums.
- Vicarious liability for landowners and managers will now apply for snares and traps offences - for all protected animals, which includes badgers. This is a GREAT OUTCOME because it can prevent the worst forms of badger suffering -associated with the use of snares. Our sincere thanks to Claudia Beamish MSP for her wholehearted commitment and work to get this through.
- Vicarious liability for badger and sett offences, which exactly mirrors the limited and carefully defined vicarious liability in the 2011 Act for birds, was met with concerns about "too wide a net" from the Minister and dissent from one party. The Poustie report was clear that many badger sett offences involve corporate organisations, where accountability gets deflected and offences are un-punished. It is deeply disappointing that the bill does not address this important wildlife welfare matter, so we will be doing MORE WORK.
- OneKind brilliantly persuaded the government to fund research to better understand how empathy education programmes can prevent re-offending. This is another GOOD OUTCOME for badgers because we know violence towards badgers is often learned at an early age. Empathy training would provide those at risk of serial offending a chance of forging a fresh path in life.
Scottish Badgers is grateful to Sir Crispin Agnew QC for his advice throughout.
Thank you one and all.