Enjoy SmartLeges Premium!

Subscribe to SmartLeges Premium and enjoy the following advantages:

  • Consult as many laws as you need with no additional charge
  • Consult almost any law in several countries with the new advanced search engine. All legislation within reach!
  • Enjoy all SmartLeges functions without restrictions
See the plans

An essential and free application for professionals and students in the legal sector

Read more
 

Sign up for free!

Would you like to consult this and other laws complete?

Sign up for free to consult all the laws of SmartLeges in your mobile phone or tablet, as well as underline text, add notes...

Sign up for free!

Email Facebook Twitter Google Linkedin Tumblr

ANIMAL WELFARE ACT 2006

UK Public General Acts

Version 22/09/2015

2006 CHAPTER 45

Default Geographical Extent: E+W+S+N.I.


  • Introductory (E+W)
  • Prevention of harm (E+W)
  • Promotion of welfare (E+W)
  • Licensing and registration (E+W)
  • Codes of practice (E+W)
  • Animals in distress (E+W)
  • Enforcement powers (E+W)
  • Prosecutions (E+W)
  • Post-conviction powers (E+W)
  • Scotland (S)
  • General
  • Version 22/09/2015
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 30/04/2015
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 12/03/2015
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 01/01/2013
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 22/04/2011
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 31/01/2011
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 24/03/2010
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 12/11/2009
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 12/12/2007
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 24/10/2007
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 01/10/2007
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 06/04/2007
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 27/03/2007
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 23/03/2007
  • Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140 Notice: Undefined variable: library in /var/www/vhosts/smartleges.com/juris/application/views/scripts/site/law-content.phtml on line 140
  • Version 08/11/2006

Introductory Text

Animal Welfare Act 2006

2006 CHAPTER 45

An Act to make provision about animal welfare; and for connected purposes.

[8th 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 (E+W)


1 Animals to which the Act applies (E+W)

(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.

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I1 S. 1 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(a)

I2 S. 1 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(a)


2 “Protected animal” (E+W)

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.
Annotations:

Commencement Information

I3 S. 2 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(a)

I4 S. 2 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(a)


3 Responsibility for animals (E+W)

(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.

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I5 S. 3 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(a)

I6 S. 3 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(a)


Prevention of harm (E+W)


4 Unnecessary suffering (E+W)

(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.

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I7 S. 4 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(a)

I8 S. 4 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(a)


5 Mutilation (E+W)

(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.

Annotations:

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1 S. 5(1)(2) excluded (E.) (6.4.2007) by Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England) Regulations 2007 (S.I. 2007/1100), art. 4reg. 1(b)

C2 S. 5(1)(2) excluded (E.) (6.4.2007) by Mutilations (Permitted Procedures) (England) Regulations 2007 (S.I. 2007/1100), art. 3reg. 1(b)

Commencement Information

I9 S. 5 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(a)

I10 S. 5(1)-(3) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I11 S. 5(4)(5) in force at 23.3.2007 for specified purposes for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(1)(a)

I12 S. 5(4)(5) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. in so far as not already in force by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I13 S. 5(6) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)


6 Docking of dogs' tails (E+W)

(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).

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I14 S. 6 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(a)

I15 S. 6(1)-(3) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I16 S. 6(4)-(6) (8)(b) (14) in force at 23.3.2007 for specified purposes for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(1)(b)

I17 S. 6(4)-(6) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. in so far as not already in force by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I18 S. 6(7)(8)(a) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I19 S. 6(8)(b) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. in so far as not already in force by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I20 S. 6(9)-(13) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I21 S. 6(14) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. in so far as not already in force by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)

I22 S. 6(15)(16) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(b)


7 Administration of poisons etc. (E+W)

(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.

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I23 S. 7 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(a)

I24 S. 7 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(c)


8 Fighting etc. (E+W)

(1) A person commits an offence if he—

(a) causes an animal fight to take place, or attempts to do so;
(b) knowingly receives money for admission to an animal fight;
(c) knowingly publicises a proposed animal fight;
(d) provides information about an animal fight to another with the intention of enabling or encouraging attendance at the fight;
(e) makes or accepts a bet on the outcome of an animal fight or on the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring in the course of an animal fight;
(f) takes part in an animal fight;
(g) has in his possession anything designed or adapted for use in connection with an animal fight with the intention of its being so used;
(h) keeps or trains an animal for use for in connection with an animal fight;
(i) keeps any premises for use for an animal fight.
(2) A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he is present at an animal fight.

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

(a) knowingly supplies a video recording of an animal fight,
(b) knowingly publishes a video recording of an animal fight,
(c) knowingly shows a video recording of an animal fight to another, or
(d) possesses a video recording of an animal fight, knowing it to be such a recording, with the intention of supplying it.
(4) Subsection (3) does not apply if the video recording is of an animal fight that took place—

(a) outside Great Britain, or
(b) before the commencement date.
(5) Subsection (3) does not apply—

(a) in the case of paragraph (a) , to the supply of a video recording for inclusion in a programme service;
(b) in the case of paragraph (b) or (c) , to the publication or showing of a video recording by means of its inclusion in a programme service;
(c) in the case of paragraph (d) , by virtue of intention to supply for inclusion in a programme service.
F1 (6). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

(7) In this section— “animal fight” means an occasion on which a protected animal is placed with an animal, or with a human, for the purpose of fighting, wrestling or baiting; ‘ “commencement date” means the date on which subsection (3) comes into force; “information society services” has the meaning given in Article 2(a) of Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce) ; “programme service” has the same meaning as in the Communications Act 2003 (c. 21) ; “video recording” means a recording, in any form, from which a moving image may by any means be reproduced and includes data stored on a computer disc or by other electronic means which is capable of conversion into a moving image.

(8) In this section—

(a) references to supplying or publishing a video recording are to supplying or publishing a video recording in any manner, including, in relation to a video recording in the form of data stored electronically, by means of transmitting such data;
(b) references to showing a video recording are to showing a moving image reproduced from a video recording by any means.
Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F1 S. 8(6) repealed (12.11.2009) by Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (c. 25), s. 182(1)(h), Sch. 21 para. 96, Sch. 23 Pt. 5 (with s. 180)

Commencement Information

I25 S. 8(1)(2)(7)(8) in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(b)

I26 S. 8(1)(2)(7)(8) in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(d)


Promotion of welfare (E+W)


9 Duty of person responsible for animal to ensure welfare (E+W)

(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.

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

(a) its need for a suitable environment,
(b) its need for a suitable diet,
(c) its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
(d) any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and
(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.

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I27 S. 9 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(c)

I28 S. 9 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(e)


10 Improvement notices (E+W)

(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.

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I29 S. 10 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(c)

I30 S. 10 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(e)


11 Transfer of animals by way of sale or prize to persons under 16 (E+W)

(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.

Annotations:

Commencement Information

I31 S. 11 in force at 27.3.2007 for W. by S.I. 2007/1030, art. 2(1)(c)

I32 S. 11 in force at 6.4.2007 for E. by S.I. 2007/499, art. 2(2)(e)