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Scotland's government is seeking public input on licensing activities involving animals, including livery services and riding establishments. Concerns have been raised about the current legislation, which may not provide adequate protection for animal welfare. To address these concerns and improve standards of care, the proposed changes aim to create a comprehensive licensing system for livery services, riding establishments, and other equine activities.
The link to said public consultation can be found at the end of this article.
Currently, livery services in Scotland fall within the purview of various laws, including the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and the 1964 Riding Establishments Act. However, it has become evident that the existing regulations do not adequately address all the challenges and concerns surrounding the care and well-being of horses in livery. With some of the main issues being the prevalence of sub-standard accommodation, lack of exercise, and inadequate healthcare.
Another critical aspect of the proposed changes is the provision for instances where an owner ceases to care for their horse and cannot be contacted. With the new licensing scheme, there will be a mechanism in place to safeguard the well-being of such animals. This ensures that neglected or abandoned horses receive the necessary care and attention until alternative arrangements can be made.
Under the proposed scheme, anyone offering livery services will be required to obtain a licence. The duration of the licence, ranging from one to three years, will depend on the anticipated levels of competence demonstrated by the service provider. This approach allows for regular evaluation and ensures that standards are continuously upheld. Additionally, the licensing authority can publish an online register of licence holders. This is to allow the public to quickly check whether a provider of the livery yard is properly licensed.
As part of this public consultation, the Scottish government aims to update the 1964 Riding Establishments Act, which has been found to have significant deficiencies. One of the key issues is that licences are currently granted for only up to 12 months, with no provisions for licence revocation. This lack of flexibility and oversight has been identified as a barrier to ensuring consistent standards and accountability within the industry.
Proposed changes include essential measures such as:
Conducting regular inspections to ensure compliance with licensing standards
Requiring establishments to maintain detailed reports on their operations and animal welfare practices
Providing adequate training to employees to enhance their knowledge and skills
Implementing consequences for those who fail to meet the licensing requirements
These measures are crucial in establishing a robust system that prioritises animal welfare, enhances the quality of care provided, and holds establishments accountable for their actions.
Overall, the proposed changes in the public consultation on licensing activities involving animals in Scotland offer a significant step forward in promoting equine welfare and rider safety. By addressing the inadequacies of existing legislation, these reforms provide a more comprehensive and robust framework for livery services, riding establishments and other equine activities. Through increased consistency, broader scope, and stringent licensing requirements, Scotland is creating a strong incentive for equine establishments to prioritise the welfare of their animals and the safety of their riders.
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