Animal welfare

Our environmental health team is responsible for enforcing the wide range of legislation in the UK designed to protect the health and welfare of both domesticated and wild animals.

Animal health and welfare legislation is enforced jointly by local authorities and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), in association with other government bodies and independent organisations, like the RSPCA.

Animal licensing

You will need a licence to run a business involving animals, we are responsible for the licensing of:

  • horse riding establishments
  • dog breeding establishments
  • boarding kennels and catteries
  • exotic, dangerous or wild animals
  • pet shops
  • zoos
  • performing animals

Animal Welfare Act 2006

Any person that is responsible for an animal has a legal duty to ensure they are meeting all of the needs of that animal as required by good practice. This is covered in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Different animals have different needs but all reasonable steps must be taken to provide the most basic care, including:

  • a suitable environment (place to live)
  • 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

Failing to provide for the needs of any animal or causing an animal unnecessary suffering is an offence and anyone found guilty of this offence may be banned from owning animals, face a large fine or imprisonment.

The Act also covers other offences, including tail docking and dog fighting.