Our Common Future | Our Land, Seas and Environment

Protecting Scotland's Animals

The Scottish Greens recognise that animals are sentient beings that experience feelings, including contentment, joy, pain and suffering, and we believe this key principle should be enshrined in law. We are committed to ending animal suffering at the hands of people, and to promoting a new relationship with all animals that is based on respect and compassion. We will work towards ending all bloodsports, and to rooting out and ending animal cruelty in any aspect of our society, including in farming, sport and medical research.

Green Impact

Scottish Green achievements in the last 5 years include:

  • Stopped the slaughter of mountain hares
  • Got P&O Ferries to end the transport of live calves from Scotland to Europe
  • Ensured Scotland’s beavers received protected status, and championed an end to their killing


In 2002 the Scottish Parliament attempted to ban this cruel practice, but the law is riddled with loopholes. Almost twenty years later, fox hunting continues much as it used to. There are still ten mounted fox hunts and a number of footpacks in operation, and the use of  terriers in fox ‘control’  is widespread. In the last Parliament Green MSP Alison Johnstone published detailed proposals that would deliver the watertight ban we need. We will deliver this legislation in the next Parliament.


The Scottish Greens oppose bloodsports. We see no justification for animals suffering and being killed for pleasure, and therefore support a ban on driven grouse shooting. This practice dominates the Scottish uplands, with between 12 and 18% of land in Scotland managed primarily to produce grouse for shooting. Management of intensive grouse moors itself causes many wider animal welfare and environmental concerns as it involves the routine killing of other wildlife species like foxes, stoats, weasels, and crows. The Scottish Government has pledged to introduce licensing for grouse moors in the next Parliament.

The Scottish Greens will ensure licensing of grouse moors:


Intensive farming continues to be a challenge to animal welfare standards in Scotland, particularly in the poultry and pork sectors. In 2020, there were 14.4m chickens and 337,000 pigs in Scotland, a high proportion of which spend their entire lives indoors, in conditions barely better than those banned by the EU.

The Scottish Greens will:


In 2021 new requirements come into force for the licensing of pet vending, animal rehoming, animal shelters and sanctuaries, and the breeding of dogs, cats and rabbits. The Scottish Greens worked to ensure these requirements were fit for purpose, and in the next session we will focus on their robust implementation. We will also introduce a complete ban on the use of shock collars and other pain based animal training aids, and reverse the SNP Government’s decision in the last Parliament to re-introduce the docking of puppy tails for hunting and other ‘working’ dogs.

The Scottish Greens will ban the breeding, import and export of dogs for racing, ending greyhound racing in Scotland. Racing dogs typically experience a life of neglect in isolated confinement, many are drugged with Class A substances to race, and all are at high risk of lethal injury due to intensive racing. Most don’t receive adequate health care and often suffer from malnutrition and untreated illness and injury. At least 10,000 dogs are deemed surplus to requirement by the UK industry every year and while charities re-home some, many are abandoned, killed or sold for dissection.


Wildlife trapping continues to be widespread across Scotland, and the use of traps is poorly regulated, causing unnecessary suffering at a very large scale. The Scottish Greens will ban glue traps, snares and Larsen traps.

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