Animal Welfare Act 2006

Parts of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are reproduced here. The Crown has waived copyright on legislation, which allows me to do this. Where appropriate some pages of the website are linked to this page to help explain some legal topics.

Contents:

Introductory

 

1 Animals to which the Act applies

(1) In this Act, except subsections (4) and (5), “animal” means a vertebrate other than man.

(2) Nothing in this Act applies to an animal while it is in its foetal or embryonic form.

(3) The appropriate national authority may by regulations for all or any of the purposes of this Act—

(a) extend the definition of “animal” so as to include invertebrates of any description;
(b) make provision in lieu of subsection (2) as respects any invertebrates included in the definition of “animal”;
(c) amend subsection (2) to extend the application of this Act to an animal from such earlier stage of its development as may be specified in the regulations.

(4) The power under subsection (3)(a) or (c) may only be exercised if the
appropriate national authority is satisfied, on the basis of scientific evidence, that animals of the kind concerned are capable of experiencing pain or suffering.

(5) In this section, “vertebrate” means any animal of the Sub-phylum Vertebrata of the Phylum Chordata and “invertebrate” means any animal not of that Subphylum.

Commentary: This act protects vertebrate animals (animals with a backbone) that are not wild animals.


2 “Protected animal”

An animal is a “protected animal” for the purposes of this Act if—

(a) it is of a kind which is commonly domesticated in the British Islands,
(b) it is under the control of man whether on a permanent or temporary basis, or
(c) it is not living in a wild state.

3 Responsibility for animals

(1) In this Act, references to a person responsible for an animal are to a person responsible for an animal whether on a permanent or temporary basis.

(2) In this Act, references to being responsible for an animal include being in
charge of it.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, a person who owns an animal shall always be regarded as being a person who is responsible for it.

(4) For the purposes of this Act, a person shall be treated as responsible for any animal for which a person under the age of 16 years of whom he has actual care and control is responsible.

 


Prevention of harm

4 Unnecessary suffering

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer,
(b) he knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would have that effect or be likely to do so,
(c) the animal is a protected animal, and
(d) the suffering is unnecessary.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he is responsible for an animal,
(b) an act, or failure to act, of another person causes the animal to suffer,
(c) he permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening, and
(d) the suffering is unnecessary.

(3) The considerations to which it is relevant to have regard when determining for the purposes of this section whether suffering is unnecessary include—

(a) whether the suffering could reasonably have been avoided or reduced;
(b) whether the conduct which caused the suffering was in compliance with any relevant enactment or any relevant provisions of a licence or code of practice issued under an enactment;
(c) whether the conduct which caused the suffering was for a legitimate purpose, such as—
(i) the purpose of benefiting the animal, or
(ii) the purpose of protecting a person, property or another animal;
(d) whether the suffering was proportionate to the purpose of the conduct concerned;
(e) whether the conduct concerned was in all the circumstances that of a reasonably competent and humane person.

(4) Nothing in this section applies to the destruction of an animal in an
appropriate and humane manner.

Commentary: These sections (sections 4, 5, 7) refer to the prevention of harm to animals. Other parts of the Act (s.9) refer to the promotion of animal welfare.

A good example of a prosecution under section (cruelty charges) would be the case of Mary Bale, a bank clerk, who infamously dumped a cat that was sitting on a wall into a rubbish bin in full sight of a CCTV camera. She has been prosecuted under s.4 and s.9 of this Act. See an article on this:
Coventry Cat Wheelie Bin Case.


5 Mutilation

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he carries out a prohibited procedure on a protected animal;
(b) he causes such a procedure to be carried out on such an animal.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he is responsible for an animal,
(b) another person carries out a prohibited procedure on the animal, and
(c) he permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening.

(3) References in this section to the carrying out of a prohibited procedure on an animal are to the carrying out of a procedure which involves interference with the sensitive tissues or bone structure of the animal, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment.

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in such circumstances as the appropriate national authority may specify by regulations.

(5) Before making regulations under subsection (4), the appropriate national
authority shall consult such persons appearing to the authority to represent
any interests concerned as the authority considers appropriate.

(6) Nothing in this section applies to the removal of the whole or any part of a dog’s tail.

 


7 Administration of poisons etc.

(1) A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he—

(a) administers any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to a
protected animal, knowing it to be poisonous or injurious, or
(b) causes any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to be taken by a protected animal, knowing it to be poisonous or injurious.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he is responsible for an animal,
(b) without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, another person
administers a poisonous or injurious drug or substance to the animal or
causes the animal to take such a drug or substance, and
(c) he permitted that to happen or, knowing the drug or substance to be poisonous or injurious, he failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening.

(3) In this section, references to a poisonous or injurious drug or substance include a drug or substance which, by virtue of the quantity or manner in which it is administered or taken, has the effect of a poisonous or injurious drug or substance.

Commentary: see a possible example of this.


9 Duty of person responsible for animal to ensure welfare

(1) A person commits an offence if he does not take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which he is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice. {the concept of “good practice” will evolve as people become more aware of animals’ needs}

(2) For the purposes of this Act, an animal’s needs shall be taken to include—

(a) its need for a suitable environment, {suitable home}
(b) its need for a suitable diet, {suitable food}
(c) its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, {allowed to behave normally}
(d) any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and {some animals’ normal behavior includes living with other animals}
(e) its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

(3) The circumstances to which it is relevant to have regard when applying
subsection (1) include, in particular—

(a) any lawful purpose for which the animal is kept, and
(b) any lawful activity undertaken in relation to the animal.

(4) Nothing in this section applies to the destruction of an animal in an
appropriate and humane manner.

Commentary: this section (s.9) refers to the concept of the promotion of animal welfare, while sections 4, 5 and 7 refer to the prevention of harm to animals.


10 Improvement notices

(1) If an inspector is of the opinion that a person is failing to comply with section 9(1), he may serve on the person a notice which—

(a) states that he is of that opinion,
(b) specifies the respects in which he considers the person is failing to comply with that provision,
(c) specifies the steps he considers need to be taken in order to comply with the provision,
(d) specifies a period for the taking of those steps, and
(e) explains the effect of subsections (2) and (3).

(2) Where a notice under subsection (1) (“an improvement notice”) is served, no proceedings for an offence under section 9(1) may be instituted before the end of the period specified for the purposes of subsection (1)(d) (“the compliance period”) in respect of—

(a) the non-compliance which gave rise to the notice, or
(b) any continuation of that non-compliance.

(3) If the steps specified in an improvement notice are taken at any time before the end of the compliance period, no proceedings for an offence under section 9(1) may be instituted in respect of—

(a) the non-compliance which gave rise to the notice, or
(b) any continuation of that non-compliance prior to the taking of the steps specified in the notice.

(4) An inspector may extend, or further extend, the compliance period specified in an improvement notice.

 


11 Transfer of animals by way of sale or prize to persons under 16

(1) A person commits an offence if he sells an animal to a person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be under the age of 16 years.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), selling an animal includes transferring, or agreeing to transfer, ownership of the animal in consideration of entry by the transferee into another transaction.

(3) Subject to subsections (4) to (6), a person commits an offence if—

(a) he enters into an arrangement with a person whom he has reasonable cause to believe to be under the age of 16 years, and
(b) the arrangement is one under which that person has the chance to win an animal as a prize.

(4) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (3) if—

(a) he enters into the arrangement in the presence of the person with whom the arrangement is made, and
(b) he has reasonable cause to believe that the person with whom the arrangement is made is accompanied by a person who is not under the age of 16 years.

(5) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (3) if—

(a) he enters into the arrangement otherwise than in the presence of the person with whom the arrangement is made, and
(b) he has reasonable cause to believe that a person who has actual care and control of the person with whom the arrangement is made has consented to the arrangement.

(6) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (3) if he enters into the arrangement in a family context.

Commentary: A person under the age of 16 cannot be a buyer of an animal nor be given an animal. It is a criminal offence to sell an animal to a person who is believed to be under 16.


32 Imprisonment or fine

(1) A person guilty of an offence under any of sections 4, 5, 6(1) and (2), 7 and 8 shall be liable on summary conviction to—

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or
(b) a fine not exceeding £20,000, or to both.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under section 9, 13(6) or 34(9) shall be liable on summary conviction to—

(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or
(b) a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

From Animal Welfare Act 2006 to Home Page


Comments

Animal Welfare Act 2006 — 3 Comments

  1. Pingback: How To Kill a Cat | Pictures of Cats

  2. Pingback: Your Cat: The need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns | Pictures of Cats

  3. Pingback: Dog Attacks on Cats in the UK (in plain English) | Pictures of Cats

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