Scotland - UK  


The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission (SAWC)


Web address


Scope/mission statement

SAWC is Scotland’s first ever independent Animal Welfare Commission. It was officially established in June 2020 and specifically looks at:

how the welfare needs of sentient animals are being met by Scottish Government policy

possible legislative and non-legislative routes to further protect the welfare of sentient animals

the research requirements to provide an evidence base for future policy development.



The Commission is chaired by Professor Cathy Dwyer, and includes 11 other commissioners.  Appointments to the Commission are for four years. Members were recruited through open advertisement and selected for appointment solely on the basis of their knowledge and expertise. They serve as individuals and not as representatives of any organisation. The Secretariat is provided by the Scottish Government’s Animal Welfare Team.


Working methods

The Commission provides written reports and opinions to Scottish Ministers (and to such others as Scottish Ministers may direct) giving practical recommendations based on scientific evidence and ethical considerations on the welfare of sentient animals in Scotland, and the impact of policy on welfare.


The Commission particularly consider the welfare of companion and wild animals, and only consider areas that are within the normal current remit of the UK Animal Welfare Committee and the UK Zoo Expert Committee where these relate to the overall responsibility to consider the welfare needs of sentient animals in all areas of Scottish Government policy or at the specific request of a Minister. The Commission do not consider matters that are reserved to the UK Government, including the welfare of animals used in scientific procedures.



All reports and statements are published on SAWC’s webpage:


Contact details

The Scottish Animal Welfare Commission Secretariat
Animal Health and Welfare Team
P-Spur, Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh EH11 3XD

Scotland, United Kingdom