A group of animal experts have been appointed to Scotland’s first independent Animal Welfare Commission.
The 12 members, who range from vets and academics to animal welfare lawyers and campaigners, will provide scientific and ethical advice to the Scottish Government.
Chaired by Professor Cathy Dwyer from Scotland’s Rural College and the University of Edinburgh, the group will look at the impact of devolved policies on the welfare of sentient animals.
It will also consider whether law changes are needed to better protect animals’ welfare, as well as researching how future policy decisions are made.
Newly appointed members of the commission include Dr Simon Girling, head of veterinary services for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, and Mike Flynn, chief superintendent at the Scottish SPCA.
Prof Dwyer said: “We have been able to appoint a really strong commission covering a range of different disciplines and areas of expertise.
“I am looking forward to working closely with these experts to be able to make a real difference to the welfare of animals in Scotland.
“There are lots of challenges ahead, but we have the right team to be able to tackle these, and we are looking forward to getting started.”
The unpaid roles will last four years, with members selected for their knowledge and expertise, according to the Scottish Government, rather than acting as representatives of any organisation.
Rural affairs minister Mairi Gougeon said: “I am delighted to appoint these experts to work with Professor Dwyer and I very much look forward to working closely with them.
“Each member of the Animal Welfare Commission shares a passion for animal welfare and brings invaluable key skills and knowledge.
“Scotland has high standards when it comes to animal welfare and this commission will play an important role in strengthening and improving the protection we offer to animals.
“The commission will specifically consider how our current policies take account of animal sentience, the wider welfare needs of animals and what improvements could be made.”
Prof Dwyer, Dr Girling and Mr Flynn are joined on the Welfare Commission by Mike Radford, lawyer specialising in animal welfare; Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust; Professor Marie Haskell, professor in animal welfare science at Scotland’s Rural College; Dr James Yeates, chief executive of Cats Protection; Libby Anderson, policy adviser to OneKind; Dr Pete Goddard, veterinary surgeon; Professor Tim Parkin, professor of veterinary epidemiology at the University of Glasgow, and Dr Andrew Kitchener, principal curator of vertebrates at the National Museum of Scotland.