The Scottish SPCA is expanding its pioneering Animal Guardians programme to help nurture empathetic and compassionate behaviour towards animals among more of Scotland’s children and young people.

The animal welfare charity’s free programme takes referrals from parents, guardians, social workers, police, teachers and many other professionals, including from organisations that specialise in supporting young people.

Welcoming the programme’s expansion, Martin Whitfield MSP said: 

“When a young person harms an animal it can often be an early indication that something else is going on in that young person’s life and they need support, so it is important that their behaviour is not ignored.

“The SSPCA’s free Animal Guardians programme takes referrals for children and young people aged 3 to 16, and helps them nurture empathy and compassionate behaviour towards all animals, and in turn, people too.

“By intervening early, the charity and its partners can help prevent violent or harmful behaviour towards animals and improve the lives of the young people, their families and their wider communities.”

Find out more about the programme at