It is worth noting at the outset that animal welfare is the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. The SNP Scottish Government are committed to protecting and promoting our natural environment, and will build upon our success in conserving wildlife and habitats, including working collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure we are working towards having the highest animal welfare standards possible.
As you note, the European Union also plays a key role when it comes to guaranteeing the welfare of animals across Europe – particularly on cross-border issues such as the trade of animal fur. It may interest you to learn that in 2007, a campaign backed by SNP MEP Alyn Smith for a complete ban on the import and export of cat and dog fur was supported by the European Parliament. I am pleased to note that the campaigning work of Alyn and other MEPs led to the European Union introducing the ban at the end of 2008.
I am concerned that these important cross-border regulations that derive from EU law – and many others – are jeopardised by the vote for the UK to leave the European Union. Leaving the European Union and the Single Market, not only threatens our economy but risks undoing many of the progressive measures on animal welfare, environmental protection and workers’ rights that derive from the EU. Rest assured that my SNP colleagues and I will continue to press to ensure that Scotland’s vote to remain in the EU is protected.