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UK:  Laws governing animal welfare


Animal Welfare Act 2006

When does the new law come into effect?

From 6 April 2007 in England, and in Wales from 27 March, animal welfare law is being improved.

It is still against the law to be cruel to an animal. But now you must also ensure that all the welfare needs of your animals are met.

What does the new law do?

It makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met.

These include the need:

For a suitable environment (place to live)
For a suitable diet
To exhibit normal behaviour patterns
To be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)
To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease
The new law also increases to 16 the minimum age at which a person can buy an animal and prohibits giving animals as prizes to unaccompanied children under this age.

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined up to 20,000 and/or sent to prison.

More details of how the new Act affects people are available here.

Defra have produced a leaflet about the Act which can be downloaded here:

Further information:

For further information please contact the Defra Helpline

Tel * 08459 33 55 77 / outside UK:  +44(0)20 7238 6951
Fax: Customer Contact Unit  020 7238 2188
Post: Defra
Customer Contact Unit
Eastbury House
30 - 34 Albert Embankment

* Calls can cost up to 5p per minute for BT users. Calls made using other service providers or mobiles may cost more.

The Helpline is available for general enquiries between the following hours: 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.


Crown copyright 2007


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