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Animal Concern Advice Line News

Moffat Sheep Races Cancellation Welcomed
Press Release Issued 11/08/2017

August 11th 2017: Please find below an e-mail I sent to our supporters a few minutes ago after learning that the Moffat Sheep Races have been cancelled. Animal Concern Advice Line (ACAL) objected to these races as they clearly breach the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. Our successful campaign is outlined in the e-mail below. Please feel free to use anything from that e-mail or from my statement below. I will be going out of the office shortly and can be contacted on mobile 07721605521.

John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line said; “I am very pleased these races have been cancelled. The natural habitat and natural behaviour of sheep does not include being chased down a main street while being cheered on by a crowd of 5,000 people. I'm sure the good people of Moffat will come up with a fun non-animal alternative in time for their 2018 Gala Day. I suggest they play pin the tail on the donkey with representatives of the various animal welfare enforcing agencies dressed up in donkey suits. This event clearly breached animal welfare laws but no-one with the responsibility to enforce those laws did anything about it. I hope that by this time next year a new Scottish law on performing animals will specifically ban events such as this.”

From: JFRobins []
Sent: 11 August 2017 15:57
Subject: Moffat Sheep Races - winner announced - it's ewe!

Hi All,

If you follow the link below to the BBC news site you will see that your lobbying of various bodies has paid off. The Moffat Sheep Races will not go ahead this Sunday.

While this is a victory it is not a victory for common sense. Common sense told us that chasing sheep around town streets while 5,000 people cheered them on was wrong and an obvious breach of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. However not one of the enforcing agencies (Dumfries and Galloway Council, the Government Animal & Plant Health Authority, the Scottish SPCA and the Scottish Minister for Animal Welfare) did anything to stop the event. Indeed from the quotes they gave to the BBC it looks like Dumfries and Galloway Council are still encouraging the organisers to obtain a License to proceed with the event.

Link to BBC News South Scotland article: Moffat Sheep Races...

Thankfully, unlike the Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, I knew the organisers of the races needed a Licence from the Council. Had I not raised this with the Council the event would have proceeded without one, just as it has for the last 5 years.

This morning, thinking the event was going ahead, I played my last card, the one I had kept up my sleeve, and asked the Council to cancel the event if the organisers did not have an appropriate license to allow them to take bets on the outcome of the races. In case that did not work I asked the enforcing agencies to have a vet properly monitor stress levels in the sheep before and immediately after the races.

Well it is all bets off and the sheep will not be chased through Moffat on Sunday. I hope that by this time next year a new Scottish law on performing animals will have made this type of event illegal.

Meanwhile questions must be asked ass to why the agencies responsible did nothing and we had to resort to technicalities over licensing to stop an event which clearly breached the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

Cheers 4 now,