Information on animal welfare laws in the UK
While all of us love and care for our pets, all pet owners are bound by the laws of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Not only is it against the law to be cruel to an animal, pet owners must ensure that all the welfare needs of their animals are met.
Animal Welfare Act 2006... animals should...
- Have a suitable place to live
- Have a suitable diet
- Exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- Are housed with, or apart from, other animals as applicable
- Are protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease
Inspectors monitor and enforce the law and 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. This also applies to you if you are looking after anyone else's pets.
The law also states that you must be 16 to buy an animal and that you can't give an animal as a prize to unaccompanied children.
For more information on companion animal laws, visit www.defra.gov.uk
Information on the Department's website covers the difference in animal welfare laws in Scotland, Northern Ireland and England and Wales. You can also contact special interest animal welfare groups and organisations to get a better understanding of these laws in practice.