Animal Welfare Act “a significant improvement” - Veterinary Practice
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InFocus

Animal Welfare Act “a significant improvement”

A REVIEW led by The Horse Trust,
on behalf of the equine sector, has
found that the Animal Welfare Act
2006 is “significant improvement on
previous legislation”, but some changes
are required for the Act to be fully
effective.

DEFRA commissioned The Horse
Trust to conduct a review of the
effectiveness of the Animal Welfare
Act in relation to equines. Following
consultation with various organisations,
including the BEVA, the Blue Cross
and the RSPCA, it produced a report,
which will form part of the post-
legislative scrutiny process.

“The Act is a significant
improvement on previous legislation
and now enables inspectors to be much
more proactive when dealing with
welfare concerns. On the whole,
enforcement of the Act is working
well; however, there are some areas that require amendment or clarification for
the Act to be fully effective,” the report
states.

Liane Crowther, The Horse Trust’s
welfare and education officer and one
of the co-authors of the report, said:
“This report underlines the value of
Animal Welfare Act and how it has
helped improve the welfare of horses
across the UK. We hope that the
government will take note of the
recommendations outlined in the
report to make it easier to enforce the
Act and close any loopholes for
offenders.”

Various improvements were listed
in the report, including stronger
powers to deal with non-compliant
horse owners, a suggested change in
sentencing guidelines, and the need to
increase awareness amongst owners,
keepers and equine businesses about
their responsibilities under the Act.

The report called for deprivation
and disqualification orders to be
prioritised over other penalties as these
are of greater use in safeguarding
welfare.

DEFRA is to publish its post-
legislative review of the Animal
Welfare Act at the end of the year.

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