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Chamber and committees

Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee

Meeting date: Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Agenda: Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill, United Kingdom Subordinate Legislation, Petition



Greyhound Racing (PE1758)

The Convener

Our next item of business is consideration of petition PE1758, on ending greyhound racing in Scotland. Members will note that the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission has written to us to say that it wishes to take more time to consider the issue of a ban on greyhound racing and expects to come to a decision next February. On that basis, are members content to delay further consideration until the SAWC has come to a view on the matter?

Mercedes Villalba

Given some of the correspondence that the committee has received, I suggest that, rather than take that decision today, we defer a decision on what we do next until next week, when we have a chance to discuss the work programme.

Rachael Hamilton

The letter from the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission does not state when the committee will have access to the results of the decision that the commission has taken to carry out more research and consider that evidence. It is almost as if the can is being kicked down the road on this. Unfortunately, the letter does not give us any clarity on the timetable so that we could consider the matter as part of our work programme.

The Convener

It is my understanding that the commission will come to a decision by next February. Initially, I was disappointed with the lack of progress by the commission, given that we had written on two occasions to get a response. However, the response might well give us reassurance that it is taking the issue seriously and will consider all the options and consequences of an outright ban or a licensing scheme. I think that waiting until February would certainly give us the information that we need to take the matter further.

Ariane Burgess

I would suggest writing a letter to the Scottish Government requesting further information, including a consultation timeline and the specifics of the proposed consultation on extending the framework for licensing of activities involving animals, including greyhound racing. I would also be interested in writing to the Dogs Trust, the Blue Cross and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to request an estimated publication date of their upcoming evidence-based report.

The Convener

We can certainly do that. Again, however, if we deal with that during our work planning meeting next week, we will have a better indication of the time constraints and how we want to take that forward.

That concludes our business in public, and we now move into private session.

11:25 Meeting continued in private until 11:41.