The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) applauds the new Programme for Government (PfG), which commits to pushing forward with the regulation of the nation’s rescue centres and animal sanctuaries.
The Scottish government’s planned regulations, outlined in its PfG, are based on ADCH’s Minimum Standards and would make Scotland the first nation in the UK to regulate the sector.
ADCH is the UK’s main rescue membership body, committed to improving animal welfare standards, and it has long argued for better regulation of the sector. Over 130 national and local charities are ADCH members. These include one of ADCH’s founding members – Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home – as well as the Scottish SPCA and more than a dozen other Scottish rescue centres and animal sanctuaries.
ADCH chairman Claire Horton said: “ADCH welcomes the Programme for Government, which commits to pushing forward with regulations to ensure there’s a minimum mandatory standard of care across all Scottish rescue centres and sanctuaries. Currently, anyone can set up an animal rescue or sanctuary without having to meet any minimum welfare standards.
“Whilst the vast majority of rescue centres operate with the appropriate love, care and dedication for their animals, we want to crack down on the few organisations in the sector that are motivated by all the wrong reasons. Setting up a responsible rescue centre is also a huge undertaking, so having clear regulations in place will ensure anyone considering founding one is in a position to manage it. The commitment by the Scottish government to regulate the sector will help ensure all rescue animals are given the care, love, resources and space they need.”
The importance of regulating the industry was brought into the spotlight last year, when “horrific conditions” were uncovered at Ayrshire Ark animal centre – with multiple emaciated bodies of dogs and a cat found in a freezer at the charity. The case sparked national outcry.
Horton added: “We must never allow a situation like Ayrshire Ark to happen again. The government’s proposed regulations will go a long way to ensuring this, by requiring rescue centres and animal sanctuaries to be properly inspected and to comply with regular inspections. This would ensure a high standard of animal welfare across Scotland and ADCH hopes this regulation model will go on be adopted by England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”