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Scottish Animal Welfare Commission: annual report 2020 to 2021

Annual report of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) showing activity for the year 2020 to 2021.


The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC) was established by the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission Regulations 2020, made under section 36 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. The function of providing advice on the protection of wildlife under section 23 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 has been assigned by Ministerial declaration.

Further information on the Commission, including reports and minutes of previous meetings, is published when available; see

SAWC’s terms of reference are to focus on the welfare of wild and companion animals in Scotland while also providing scientific and ethical advice to the Scottish Government. The Commission will only consider areas that are within the normal current remit of the UK Animal Welfare Committee and the UK Zoo Expert Committee where these relate to the overall responsibility to consider the welfare needs of sentient animals in all areas of Scottish Government policy or at the specific request of the Scottish Ministers. The Commission will not consider matters that are reserved to the UK Government, including the welfare of animals used in scientific procedures.

The Commission will provide written reports and opinions to Scottish Ministers giving practical recommendations based on scientific evidence and ethical considerations on the welfare of sentient animals in Scotland, and the impact of policy on welfare.

This review provides an update on the work the Commission has undertaken since its formal establishment in June 2020, including reports published and on-going activity. This fulfils the requirement for an annual report in regulation 14 of the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission Regulations 2020, which states that:

  • The Commission must, as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year prepare and publish a report on the exercise of its functions during that year and send a copy of the report to the Scottish Ministers.
  • The Scottish Ministers must lay a copy of the report before the Scottish Parliament.
  • It is for the Commission to determine the form and content of each report.

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