Manifesto for Dogs and Animal Welfare

Announcing ALBA’s manifesto for dogs and animal welfare, Cllr Christopher McEleny said:

“ Just like ALBA have listened to what experts and charities have said on important issues such as Education, Health, and how to reduce Poverty, our manifesto for Dogs and Animal Welfare was formed by listening to the views of what Veterinary Groups and Animal Welfare Charities in Scotland.

“ Throughout the past year, pets have been a lifeline for many. I know that personally, I have never valued the companionship of my own dog so much as I did during periods of lockdown. The Scottish Parliament has started to make good progress in animal welfare but there is much more that can be done to ensure that as a society we ensure animals are better protected. The ALBA party are strong on animal welfare and these proposals will play a key role in the Scottish Parliament doing more to protect animals. “

ALBA’s Dog and Animal Welfare Manifesto

Launched today by former SNP Activist Dog, Poppy who is defecting to ALBA to launch #DogsOfALBA

Scotland is a country of animal lovers. In Scotland over half a million dogs provide companionship to over one fifth of the population.

ALBA agrees with charities that have called on a new Scottish Government to take more action to better protect the welfare of animals, including dogs.

  • A) Strengthen legislation against illegal puppy imports

There has been a steep rise in demand for ‘pandemic puppies’ and ALBA share the concerns of the animal welfare charities that people may be turning to illegal breeding activity or imports. ALBA supports strengthening of pet travel legislation to clamp down on illegal puppy smuggling by raising the age at which puppies can enter the country.

  • B). Boost the veterinary workforce

ALBA agrees that Vets play a vital role in trade, protecting public health, food safety and animal health and welfare. To continue to trade, we need enough vets to meet the additional demands for export and import certification associated with leaving the EU. ALBA support calls for increased funding for veterinary school places and attractive salaries for vets undertaking government work.

  • C). Ban the import of dogs with cropped ears

A recent spike in cases of illegal ear cropping points to the need for urgent action to curb

this worrying trend. It is an unnecessary, painful mutilation with no welfare benefit.

In rare circumstances, it may be carried out on veterinary grounds. But this is exceptionally uncommon. Ear cropping is a cosmetic procedure. Other than altering a dog’s appearance, it has no benefit. In fact, it actually puts a dog more at risk of disease and infection in and around the ears. It is often carried out on puppies when they are just a few weeks old.

While illegal to crop in the UK, it is not illegal to sell ear-cropped dogs, import them, or take dogs abroad to be cropped. ALBA will close these loopholes and end the trend in ear-cropped dogs for good.

  • D). Ban aversive training devices and shock collars

Evidence shows that reward-based training is not only the most effective training method

for dogs and cats, but also makes sure animals are protected from any pain or suffering as part of their training.

At the moment, existing Scottish Government guidance advises against the use of electric shock collars as a training tool. As recently as 2018, there was cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament for introducing a total ban. Sadly, this has not happened. It is time to revisit this. Electric shock collars are already banned in Wales. Let’s follow suit and use more humane methods to work on behavioural problems with our dogs.

ALBA supports a complete ban on the sale and use of electric shock collars for dogs and cats.

  • E). Tighten the regulation of fireworks

Fireworks impact the health and welfare of animals, humans, and our environment. ALBA supports the recommendations of the Fireworks Review Group, including the introduction of no-firework zones, limitations on days of the year in which members of the public can set of fireworks and will support implementation as soon as possible.

  • F). Put animal welfare on the national curriculum

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act puts a duty of care on individuals to provide

for the welfare needs of animals. It is essential that children learn about the welfare needs and the concept of a duty of care to ensure animals have good health and welfare and a life worth living.

ALBA supports embedding the importance of animal welfare into the school curriculum as soon as possible.

  • G). Closing the loophole to ensure a ban on Fox hunting in Scotland

In Scotland, the law currently states a pack of dogs can be used to flush a fox. It is clear that the dogs must not be allowed to kill the fox and the fox must be shot or killed by a bird of prey. The person who shoots the fox must be within a reasonable distance of the fox when it is shot.

ALBA shares the concerns of animal welfare charities that this results in fox hunts continuing in Scotland.

Leaving legislation open to interpretation means hunts still go ahead and many foxes will suffer brutal deaths. The last thing they’ll experience before they are mauled is overwhelming fear. No living thing deserves to die this way. ALBA will move to close any loopholes to ensure the ban of fox hunting in Scotland.


Every year, there are cases where individuals are prosecuted for breaking a ban on owning animals. Many people who are banned move address, which makes it impossible to monitor a ban and ensure it is respected. Such people are often caught by chance, due to the lack of an accessible central register. People should not be able to evade a ban by moving to a different local authority area.

A national register which could be accessed by authorised enforcement agencies (including the Scottish SPCA, the police and local authorities) would fix this

  • I). Right to the companionship of a pet

Animals can be of huge benefit to human mental health and wellbeing, supporting those who feel lonely and isolated. Having that positive human-animal bond can make a significant difference to both the animal and the person involved. This has been particularly evident over the past year during the Covid pandemic.

Sadly, relinquishing a pet is not always by choice. People may: move into private tenancy; become homeless; be supported by a housing association; be forced to seek refuge from domestic violence.

Often they cannot take their pet with them due to the restrictions in place in their temporary accommodation. Unless they give up the accommodation and risk homelessness, people have to give up their pet and the invaluable human-animal bond is broken. It is time for an initiative which puts people and pets first.

ALBA supports an initiative that provides all landlords across Scotland (both private and public) with specialist advice and guidance on how to support pet friendly accommodation and access to incentives to help protect that human- animal bond.

  •  Better support for animal welfare charities

ALBA recognises that the Covid pandemic has had an adverse impact on the operation of animal welfare charities. As we leave the pandemic, the changed behaviours such as increased time at home may result in emotional stress on dogs. ALBA belives that the new Scottish Government should work with animal welfare charities and provide appropriate funding to aid in their recovery.


  • There are now approximately 1 million pet dogs in Scotland with close to one quarter of the population owning a dog.
  • 24% of the UK adult population have a dog with an estimated population of 10.1 million pet dogs.
  •  Poppy is a Female Cavapoo aged 2.5 years old.

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