Animal Cruelty Laws In The United Kingdom

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Animal abuse is a serious topic that occurs every day of our lives. This happens every day, everywhere. Animal abuse is a major cause all around the world that is causing millions of animals to get hurt and killed, from the smallest animal, to the largest animal known. Almost every animal is being abused by careless people, animals such as chickens, dogs and elephants. This is now in modern time against the law and anyone caught could be prosecuted.

Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876

The Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876, was an Act passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom which set limits on the practice of animal experimentation, amending the Cruelty to Animals Act 1849. Its long title was An Act to amend the Law relating to Cruelty to Animals (15th August 1876). The Act was replaced 110 years later by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

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Any person performing or taking part in performing any experiment calculated to give pain shall be guilty of an offence against this Act, and shall, if it be the first offence, be liable to a penalty not exceeding fifty pounds, and if it be the second or any subsequent offence, be liable, at the discretion of the court by which he is tried, to a penalty not exceeding one hundred pounds or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.

Protection of Animals Act 1911

General Description:

This is the main statute relating to the protection of any captive animal - farm livestock, zoo animals and domestic pets. The main offence is cruelty including:

  • Beating, kicking, ill-treating, over-riding, over-working, torturing or frightening any captive animal:
  • Causing unnecessary suffering by doing or omitting to do any act;
  • Conveying or carrying any animal in a manner which may cause unnecessary suffering;
  • Performing any operation without due care and humanity;
  • Allowing the fighting or baiting of any animal or the use of any premises for such acts;
  • Administering any poison, injurious drug or other substance to any animal.

First time punishment is fine of £50 then second time is £100 and repeated offenders will get a fine not exceeding £300 and a imprisonment of up to 3 months.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.

In short it means they must take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which are:

  • need for a suitable environment – need for a comfortable home
  • need for a suitable diet- being well fed
  • need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns- how a normal animal should behave
  • need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
  • Need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.- needs to be injected and not bodily harm on the dog

The Animal Welfare Act combined more than 20 pieces of legislation into one. The Act introduced tougher penalties for neglect and cruelty, including fines of up to £20,000, a maximum jail term of 51 weeks and a lifetime ban on some owners keeping pets.

Many different people have opposing views on the way we should treat animals. Some may argue that animals are only to be used as food or as an instrument to help us perform specific tasks. 'Ether Singer was the first philosopher that opposed this way or thinking. He suggested that there is no morally justifiable way to exclude from moral consideration nonhumans who can clearly suffer. His Moral Status of Animals means to say that any being, human or not, that has no interest in suffering has the right to tale that interest into account. Humans are rational beings that are capable of recognising if something is morally right or morally wrong. So, if we have the ability to male these finds of claims, we also have the ability to recognise these claims considered things.

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Animal Cruelty Laws In The United Kingdom. (2021, August 23). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“Animal Cruelty Laws In The United Kingdom.” Edubirdie, 23 Aug. 2021,
Animal Cruelty Laws In The United Kingdom. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
Animal Cruelty Laws In The United Kingdom [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 23 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:

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