The Animal Welfare Act


The Animal Welfare Act came into effect in April 2007. The Kennel Club considers that the Act has provided much greater protection for animals by introducing a new welfare offence against neglect, thereby legally obliging owners to care for their pets properly.

The Animal Welfare Act does apply to Wales but the Welsh Government also has powers to introduce its own secondary legislation, for example the Animal Welfare (Electric Collars) (Wales) Regulations 2010. The legislation does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland. However, the Scottish Executive passed the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act and Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development passed the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland), which both follow many of the same principles.

The Kennel Club supports the duty of care clause within the Act and believes it should not affect responsible dog owners. Rather it makes it a legal requirement for all owners and keepers of pets to provide for the basic needs of their animals.

These include:

 - a proper diet (including water)

 - somewhere suitable to live

 - any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals as appropriate

 - allowing animals to express normal behaviour

 - protection from, and treatment of, illness and injury

The Act banned docking, with an exemption for working dogs used for their traditional job of work, and placed requirements upon owners who wish to dock these breeds. The showing of docked dogs was also banned under the Act, which the Kennel Club strongly opposed. For more information on docking read the 'Docking' issue statement.



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