Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006: guidance

The Government has prepared notes to aid understanding by providing general guidance on the content of the Act and where appropriate, to give additional notes on its general and specific provisions. They do not form part of the Act and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

About the act

Part 2 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 consolidates and modernises animal welfare legislation for Scotland. The main purposes of the welfare provisions of the Act are to promote the welfare of animals and prevent harm through measures such as introducing a duty of care on those responsible for animals and allowing animals either suffering or in danger of suffering to be removed.

The main provisions of Part 2 of the Act replace a number of existing provisions in animal welfare legislation and are designed to prevent animal cruelty, promote animal welfare and protect animals in distress. The Act makes it an offence to cause a protected animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals for which a person is responsible (the duty of care), prohibits the giving of animals as prizes, raises the age at which young people can be sold animals, re-affirms the specific offence of abandonment and strengthens the provisions for offences involving animal fights. It increases the penalties for certain offences and allows an inspector or constable to take possession of an animal which is suffering or likely to suffer. It allows the courts to make orders to deprive a person of possession or ownership of an animal on conviction for certain offences; and to disqualify a person from participating in animal-related activities following conviction for certain offences.

The Act gives Scottish Ministers the power to make regulations which will require some animal businesses to be licensed or registered with a local authority. The proposals for any regulations must be consulted on before they are presented to Parliament for approval.

Back to top