Recently we asked, ‘what does it mean to be a good food nation?’ ahead of the stage one debate of the Good Food Nation Bill.

That Bill has now been debated for the second time. We worked alongside the Scottish Food Coalition, which we are a member of, before the debate to support MSPs lodging amendments that would strengthen what was a rather skeletal Bill.

Many constructive amendments got lodged and had strong support across the opposition parties. We thank the MSPs who worked so hard before and during the debate. Unfortunately, most of those amendments were not agreed to by the Scottish Government so did not pass. Following stage two the Bill still does not live up to its promise.


The good news is that three of the amendments that did pass will add animal welfare in the text of the Bill itself, as one of the priorities that Ministers and public authorities must ‘have regard to’ when creating good food nation plans. We will work to ensure that that this translates to real improvements in animal welfare when the time comes.

In the meantime, the Scottish Food Coalition has just produced a report that describes why our food system is broken and how to fix it. The report describes a fairer vision of the future for farmed animals:

"This means a Scotland where fewer animals are bred for food and those who are, including farmed fish, are treated as sentient beings whose needs, wants and well-being are fully respected […] Animals have living spaces allowing them to feel comfortable, safe, and fulfilled in species-appropriate complex environments. Infants are allowed to stay with their mothers. Animals are bred to maximise their wellbeing, not their production value. Mutilations such as chopping the beaks off young chickens and the tails off piglets, are banned, as are the conditions that caused the poor mental health that led to those mutilations becoming standard. Farms are no larger than that which allows the farmer and their staff to have time to care for their animals as individuals."

We urge MSPs from all parties to heed the recommendations in this report and work at stage three to strengthen the Good Food Nation Bill, to help reach this vision.