Advocates for Animals is the first UK law firm dedicated to animal protection. It is a not for profit set up by David Thomas and Edie Bowles, two solicitors with vast combined experience in animal protection law. Advocates for Animals were selected as one of the first organisations to collaborate with Animal Ask in our pilot programme from November 2020. We selected two organisations to support who could benefit from an additional research resource towards an upcoming ask consideration. Advocates for Animals approached us with a request to research all possible projects within two specific parameters: 1) the lack of regulatory framework for fish farming in Scotland and; 2) the lack of enforcement of animal welfare violations Advocates for Animal’s requirements were relatively specific, stating that they required support with the formation of an ask that would be suitable for either prosecution or judicial review. The ask was for the UK specifically and we had 6 months in which to complete this research. The focus of the research is impacting as many individual lives as possible, in order to have the greatest overall impact. SCOPING We started our research with some scoping in order for our team to gain as much knowledge as possible about the UK judicial review system. We partnered with a corporate law firm who gave us 110 hours of pro bono support. They produced an in depth scoping report which detailed UK animal welfare law and the possible angles we could look into within the scope from AFA. They also made some cross country comparisons which were useful for us to consider when deciding on the likelihood of certain asks progressing into the later rounds. RESEARCH ROUNDS We collated a list of 19 potential asks within the framework provided by AFA. In round one we examined each ask using our four methodologies; weighted factor model, expert view, cost effectiveness analysis and informed consideration.
In our final extensive reports we found strong arguments for launching a judicial review for tail docking enforcement and to improve the regulatory framework for Scottish salmon. Each ask could potentially be very impactful. However, which one looks better in expectation depends on how you weigh the evidence or likelihood of certain outcomes. Overall our team views pig tail docking enforcement as a more promising ask, however our conclusion is best summarised based on the uncertainties or judgement calls that would lead you to favour one ask or the other.
Full case study summary here.