The Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act

The 2006 Act has introduced an important and new concept for pet owners and those responsible for domestic animals, e.g. breeders, those who have working animals or farm animals in England and Wales.


Preventing animals suffering

This means enforcement agencies and our inspectors can now act by advising and educating owners before their pets suffer. If this advice is not followed or the animal’s needs are not being met then action can be taken whether through a formal warning or in some cases a prosecution.


What does the law say?

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.

This means owners must take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which are:

  • a suitable environment
  • a suitable diet
  • be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • be housed with, or apart, from other animals
  • be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.