Scotland's animals need you!
As Scotland's leading animal campaigns' charity, we are always working on several animal welfare issues simultaneously. As we prepare for the 2021 elections, now is the time to seek a commitment for several of these.That's why we are asking for your help. We are asking all parties and candidates to acknowledge that animals are individual beings not commodities, and that decisions affecting their welfare should be based on evidence and ethics. The only way we can apply pressure to ensure animals are not forgotten is to work now - and we need your help to do that.
OneKind is calling for
Improved human understanding of companion animal needs
It's well known that our companion animals provide us with huge mental health benefits; but it isn't always reciprocated. Animals have companionship and mental health needs too. Companionship and the ability to perform normal behaviour are the least recognised of the five welfare needs. This translates into diminished welfare for some pets: a fifth of dogs are left alone longer than the recommended maximum time, 99, 000 dogs in the UK are never walked, a quarter of dog owners use aversive training methods, 2 million cats live with another cat in social discord, half of rabbits live alone and 10% of rabbits never leave their hutch. OneKind is calling for:
- A comprehensive public education program around companion animal mental and physical health and welfare needs.
- Measures to discourage the breeding of animals with exaggerated features.
Regulation of the pet trade
‘Puppy farming’ is fraught with welfare concerns. These young animals suffer mental health problems due to lack of socialisation, a stressful rearing environment, separation at a young age, and being transported (often internationally) in poor conditions. They also suffer physical health problems due to inbreeding, disease spread in intensive conditions, and lowered immunity due to stress.
Exotic species, such as primates and reptiles, are also in high demand and increasingly traded online. Many of these animals’ needs cannot be met in captivity, and online trading increases the likelihood of their being acquired by people without any requisite knowledge of their needs. OneKind is calling for:
- A comprehensive regulatory and licensing system for all breeding and transfer of ownership of cats, dogs and rabbits.
- The introduction of a Positive List of species that are suitable to keep as pets.
A commitment to decisions based on evidence and ethics when considering any measures that may affect wild animal welfare
Scotland’s wild animals are greatly admired by residents and visitors alike. And yet many of them are persecuted and suffer terribly due to their treatment by humans. These cruel practices are often rooted in tradition and entrenched commercial pursuits. They are enabled by value-laden language: labelling certain animals ‘pests’, ‘vermin’ or ‘non-native’ degrades and diminishes them.
It is time for this to change. We must stop allowing treatment of wild animals that would be illegal and considered abhorrent if applied to domesticated animals. OneKind is against the killing of animals. However, if it must be carried out, wildlife ‘management’ must be based on evidence and ethics.
OneKind is calling for a commitment to decisions based on evidence and ethics when considering any measures that may affect wild animal welfare. This means:
- Requiring any wildlife ‘management’ proposal or existing regime to conduct animal welfare impact assessments.
- An outright ban on the sale, manufacture, possession and use of snares.
- New legislation to make the ban on hunting with dogs effective and enforceable.
- A full review of the licensing system, to ensure that all general and specific licenses are evidence based and welfare is prioritised.
An end to the use of animals in experiments
As with wild animals, animals used in research are subjected to pain and suffering that would be illegal if applied to companion animals. Yet in 2019, in Great Britain, 3.4 million procedures were carried out. 18,000 of them on "specially protected" species: dogs, cats, horses and primates. This practice is unethical and cannot be justified, as it is also ineffective. Animal ‘models’ have predictive failures in toxicology testing, a limited translation to humans, and can lead to adverse drug reactions and clinical trial disasters. OneKind is calling for:
- Promote rapid development and utilisation of alternatives to animal research.
- Press the UK government to take action to replace animal testing.
Make Scotland a Good Food Nation
Our current food system is unsustainable and not conducive to the wellbeing of animals, humans or the environment. As part of the Scottish Food Coalition, OneKind wants to change this to make Scotland a Good Food Nation, with animal welfare at the heart of that concept.. Whatever your diet, animals used for food should be treated with respect, dignity and spared unecessary suffering.
Farmed animals represent by far the largest number of individual lives under human control in Scotland, with 1.73 million cows, 6.67 million sheep, 14.9 million poultry, and 319,000 pigs.
Each being amongst these millions, who we are using for food, thinks, feels and has their own priorities. An unacceptably high proportion of them do not have good lives, and many endure suffering. They deserve better and we can and should shift the priority from producing animal products cheaply to directly supporting farmers to provide high welfare standards. OneKind is calling for:
- An end to the live export of animals for slaughter or further fattening.
- An end to the caging of farmed animals, specifically cages for laying hens and farrowing crates for sows.
- CCTV to be made mandatory in all Scottish slaughterhouses, as previously committed to by the Scottish Government, and non-stun slaughter to be banned.
- Mandatory method of production labelling for all animal products.
- Cephalopods and decapod crustaceans to be recognised as sentient and protected accordingly.
Re-evaluation of salmon farming in Scotland
Unknown millions of salmon are farmed in Scotland. The number is unknown because fish are measured in tonnes not individuals, an affront to each of them and a problem when considering their welfare. Farmed salmon lead a constricted existence, similarly to their terrestrial counterparts. Their physical health is compromised by the effects of sea lice, disease, poor water quality, and genetic selection for fast growth. Mechanical treatments for sea lice are stressful and can cause injury and death. The alternative is using cleaner fish, who also suffer poor welfare. There are additional welfare concerns for wild marine animals in the vicinity of salmon farms. Of particular concern is the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices, which are used to try to prevent seals predating on caged salmon but can harm the seals and other animals, especially cetaceans. The Scottish Governments’ goal to double the size of this industry between 2016 and 2030 will only exacerbate these problems, as well as the many negative environmental and social impacts. This goal must be re-assessed and the grave problems posed by salmon farming tackled, as a matter of priority.OneKind is calling for:
- A moratorium on the expansion of the salmon farming industry until the major problems are addressed.
- The introduction of welfare regulations for farmed salmon.
By supporting our work, you are helping us to raise awareness of these welfare issues, increasing public support for change. Your gifts directly impact on our ability to deliver strong campaigns.
As a small charity, your impact is huge. Every pound really does matter and makes a difference in strengthening our campaigns to protect animals. Will you donate to our appeal, so we can demand more for Scotland's animals?