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Response from Scottish Animal Welfare Commission. (SAWC)

By Jamie Penrith on February 24, 2024
In October 2023, ARDO responded to a SAWC request for information relating to “other aversive methods” for dog training. This is after they released their report regarding electronic training aids in Scotland in April 2023, in which they dismissed any form of regulation or licensing in favour of an absolute ban. ARDO raised concerns regarding […]

In October 2023, ARDO responded to a SAWC request for information relating to “other aversive methods” for dog training. This is after they released their report regarding electronic training aids in Scotland in April 2023, in which they dismissed any form of regulation or licensing in favour of an absolute ban.

ARDO raised concerns regarding the impartiality of SAWC – a voluntary, non-elected parliamentary advisory group.

In addition to answering the questions asked by SAWC, ARDO asked some simple questions of our own. We have now received the response which is shown below.

Q1) Who has asked SAWC to look at “other aversive training methods”? In submitting our response, who are we ultimately answering to? We assume that as an independent advisory body, SAWC must be evidence gathering in direct response to requests from government. Is this correct?

SAWC members reached the decision to review and provide an opinion on dog training practices as part of their initial plenary discussion in March 2020.  It was included in SAWC’s first work plan in July 2020.  It was decided initially to focus on electronic collars.  After the report was published in April 2023, members decided to consider the use of other aversive training methods. As an independent body, SAWC is able to investigate any topic of interest within its remit as well as responding to direct requests for advice from Scottish Ministers.

Q2) Why has it been deemed necessary for SAWC to be asked to look at “other aversive training methods”, particularly electronic collars when these devices were included in responses throughout the 2016 Scottish consultation?

SAWC wasn’t directly asked to consider aversive training methods, however its report is expected to be helpful to inform future Scottish Government policy decisions in this area.

Q3)Is there a pressing, established animal welfare need underpinning the request? If so, Qwhat is that need and could we see the evidence for it?

As above, SAWC wasn’t directly asked to consider other aversive training methods.

Q4) How are the answers to the questions expected to be used? I.e., Future government policy formation, independent research etc?

Any future SAWC report or opinion is advisory, and would be for Ministers to consider.The report could potentially identify areas where further research would be useful.

 

Article written by Jamie Penrith

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