Animal Welfare Act 2006

Document Number:2006 CHAPTER 45
 
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An Act to make provision about animal welfare; and for connected purposes.

[8 th November 2006]

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

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 Sub-phylum.

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.

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.

6 Docking of dogs' tails

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he removes the whole or any part of a dog’s tail, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment;

(b) he causes the whole or any part of a dog’s tail to be removed by another person, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he is responsible for a dog,

(b) another person removes the whole or any part of the dog’s tail, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment, 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) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if the dog is a certified working dog that is not more than 5 days old.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) , a dog is a certified working dog if a veterinary surgeon has certified, in accordance with regulations made by the appropriate national authority, that the first and second conditions mentioned below are met.

(5) The first condition referred to in subsection (4) is that there has been produced to the veterinary surgeon such evidence as the appropriate national authority may by regulations require for the purpose of showing that the dog is likely to be used for work in connection with—

(a) law enforcement,

(b) activities of Her Majesty’s armed forces,

(c) emergency rescue,

(d) lawful pest control, or

(e) the lawful shooting of animals.

(6) The second condition referred to in subsection (4) is that the dog is of a type specified for the purposes of this subsection by regulations made by the appropriate national authority.

(7) It is a defence for a person accused of an offence under subsection (1) or (2) to show that he reasonably believed that the dog was one in relation to which subsection (3) applies.

(8) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he owns a subsection (3) dog, and

(b) fails to take reasonable steps to secure that, before the dog is 3 months old, it is identified as a subsection (3) dog in accordance with regulations made by the appropriate national authority.

(9) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he shows a dog at an event to which members of the public are admitted on payment of a fee,

(b) the dog’s tail has been wholly or partly removed (in England and Wales or elsewhere) , and

(c) removal took place on or after the commencement day.

(10) Where a dog is shown only for the purpose of demonstrating its working ability, subsection (9) does not apply if the dog is a subsection (3) dog.

(11) It is a defence for a person accused of an offence under subsection (9) to show that he reasonably believed—

(a) that the event was not one to which members of the public were admitted on payment of an entrance fee,

(b) that the removal took place before the commencement day, or

(c) that the dog was one in relation to which subsection (10) applies.

(12) A person commits an offence if he knowingly gives false information to a veterinary surgeon in connection with the giving of a certificate for the purposes of this section.

(13) The appropriate national authority may by regulations make provision about the functions of inspectors in relation to—

(a) certificates for the purposes of this section, and

(b) the identification of dogs as subsection (3) dogs.

(14) Power to make regulations under this section includes power—

(a) to make different provision for different cases, and

(b) to make incidental, supplementary, consequential or transitional provision or savings.

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

(16) In this section—

“commencement day” means the day on which this section comes into force;

“subsection (3) dog” means a dog whose tail has, on or after the commencement day, been wholly or partly removed without contravening subsection (1) , because of the application of subsection (3).

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...

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