Animal Welfare Act 2006
Secondary legislation and Codes of practice
What is ‘secondary legislation’ and why is there lots of information about it on this site?
An Act of Parliament, or ‘primary legislation’, like the Animal Welfare Act 2006, can enable the government to make ‘secondary legislation’. Secondary legislation (sometimes known as regulations; subordinate or delegated legislation; or statutory instruments) is often more detailed and specific than primary legislation and can usually be passed by Parliament in a simplified, quicker process.
So, whilst the Act provides a general framework for the protection for animals, the government intends to make more specific laws for particular situations or kinds of animals where it is felt that this would be useful; such as what kind of procedures pet shops should follow to look after animals, or in what circumstances it is acceptable to dock a dog’s tail.
What is a code of practice?
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 allows the government to issue and from time to time revise codes of practice.
The main purpose of these codes is to give practical advice to owners and others responsible for animals on how they can ensure that their animals’ welfare needs are met. Welfare codes for farmed animals have been in existence for some years and the Act will allow these to be issued for companion animals too.
Failure to comply with a code will not be an offence in itself. However, whether or not a person complied with a code could be used as evidence in court if a prosecution is taken.
The government has made a commitment to produce certain general codes that will provide guidance on the keeping of certain species, such as dogs, cats and primates. Codes will also be produced to give more detail to other secondary legislation such as the sale of pets and the welfare of racing greyhounds. Other codes will be issued as and when necessary bearing in mind that a good deal of guidance is already available to animal owners from specialist clubs and animal welfare bodies such as the RSPCA.
All codes of practice issued by government will be subject to public consultation and parliamentary approval.
Proposed timetable for Secondary Legislation and Codes:
The timetable for secondary legislation and codes is currently under review for the following activities:
|Tail Docking of Dogs|
|Guidance on the legal status of wing and web tagging|
|Welfare of Farmed Animals|
|Primates as Pets|
|Wild Animals in Circuses|
|Animal (dog & cat) Boarding|
|Tethering of horses|
- Animal Welfare Act 2006
- Information about the Act
- Information for Local Authorities
- How does the Act affect me?
Page last modified: 15 August, 2008