Animal Welfare Act 2006

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Animal Welfare Act 2006
Animal Welfare Act 2006

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is the principal law in England and Wales that relates to animal welfare.[1] It was introduced to promote the welfare of vertebrate animals, excluding those in the wild.[2] The Act is significant as it introduced a new concept for pet owners and those responsible for domestic animals, such as breeders and those who have working or farm animals.[3]

The Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.[3] This means that they must provide for the five welfare needs of the animals, which are:

  1. Need for a suitable environment
  2. Need for a suitable diet
  3. Need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  4. Need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
  5. Need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

The Act allows enforcement agencies and inspectors to act by advising and educating owners before their pets suffer.[3] 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.[3]

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