Animal Welfare Act 2006
\\AERU400\aeru net\Andy\leg\Legislation_animalwelfareact2006.htm

Applies in England  Applies in Wales

Title: Animal Welfare Act 2006

Category: England & Wales Law

Date: 2006 [Full text]

Reference: Chapter 45

General Description:

In the main this Act applies to England and Wales only, although there areertaiun provisons which mean a banning order imposed under this legisslation applies in Scotland as well.

The Act brings together and updates legislation that exists to promote the welfare of vertebrate animals (other than those in the wild) some of which dates from 1911. The categories of animals that are protected under the Act depend on the offence in question. For example, the duty to ensure an animal’s welfare only applies to animals that are owned or for which someone is otherwise responsible, but the cruelty and fighting offences have a wider application. The Act has only limited application to animals in research establishments, the welfare of which is regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Act aligns welfare standards for farmed animals, which have generally kept in line with developments in scientific understanding, and non-farmed animals which are largely protected by laws formulated in the early twentieth century.

 The Act:

  • Introduces a 'duty of care' on people to ensure the needs of any animal for which they are responsible.
  • Create a new offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal in your care.
  • Allow action to protect animals to be taken much earlier - rather than have to wait for an animal to show the signs of suffering, enforcers will be able to intervene before suffering begins.
  • Place more emphasis on owners and keepers who will need to understand their responsibilities and take all reasonable steps to provide for the needs of their animals.

The key elements of the act are to:

  • Reduce animal suffering by enabling preventive action to be taken before suffering occurs.
  • Place on people who are responsible for domestic and companion animals a duty requiring them to do all that is reasonable to ensure the welfare of their animals.
  • Extend the existing power to make secondary legislation to promote the welfare of farmed animals to non-farmed animals, bringing legislation for non-farmed animals in line with that for farmed animals.
  • Deter persistent offenders by strengthening penalties and eliminating many loopholes in the current system. For example, those causing unnecessary suffering to an animal will face up to 51 weeks in prison, a fine of up to ?20,000, or both,
  • Simplify the legislation for enforcers and animal keepers by consolidating over 20 pieces of legislation into one.
  • Extend to companion animals welfare codes agreed by Parliament, a mechanism currently used to provide guidance on welfare standards for farmed animals.
  • Strengthen and amend current offences related to animal fighting.
  • Increase the effectiveness of law enforcement for animal welfare offences.
  • Increase from 12 to 16 the minimum age at which a child may buy an animal, and prohibit the giving of pets as prizes to unaccompanied children under the age of 16.
  • Ban mutilations of animals, with certain specified exemptions.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Livestock, Health, Welfare

ADLib logo Content provided by the Agricultural Document Library
© University of Hertfordshire, 2011