Publication - Advice and guidance

Welfare of equidae: code of practice

Published: 30 Apr 2009
Directorate:
Agriculture and Rural Economy Directorate
Part of:
Farming and rural
ISBN:
9780755980024

This guide covers all domesticated equidae for which a person is responsible, including all horses, ponies, donkeys and hybrids and details a set of principles underpinning equine care.

Welfare of equidae: code of practice
Appendix A: The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

Appendix A: The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

The following sections of the Act are referred to in the Code and are set out here for ease of reference:

The boxes below contain extracts from the relevant sections of the Act.

The box shaded in green summarises the relevant offences and penalties in the Act.

Section 18 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 provides:

Responsibility for animals

(1) In this Part [the welfare part of the Act], references to being responsible for an animal mean being responsible for it on a permanent or temporary basis.

(2) In this Part, references to being responsible for an animal include being in charge of it.

(3) For the purposes of this Part, a person who owns an animal is always to be regarded as being a person who is responsible for it.

(4) For the purposes of this Part, a person ("person A") is to be regarded as responsible for any animal for which a person who is under 16 years of age, of whom person A has the actual care and control, is responsible.

(5) For the purposes of this Part, a person does not relinquish responsibility for an animal by reason only of abandoning it.

Section 19 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 provides:

Unnecessary suffering

(1) A person commits an offence if:

(a) the person causes a protected animal unnecessary suffering by an act, and

(b) the person knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act would have caused the suffering or be likely to do so.

(2) A person who is responsible for an animal commits an offence if:

(a) the person causes the animal unnecessary suffering by an act or omission, and

(b) the person knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act or omission would have caused the suffering or be likely to do so.

(3) A person ("person A") who is responsible for an animal commits an offence if:

(a) another person causes the animal unnecessary suffering by an act or omission, and

(b) person A:

(i) permits that to happen, or

(ii) fails to take steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as are reasonable in the circumstances to prevent that happening.

(4) The considerations to which regard is to be had in determining, for the purposes of subsections (1) to (3), whether suffering is unnecessary include:

(a) whether the suffering could reasonably have been avoided or reduced,

(b) whether the conduct concerned was in compliance with any relevant enactment or any relevant provisions of a licence or code of practice issued under an enactment,

(c) whether the conduct which caused the suffering was for a legitimate purpose, for example:

(i) the purpose of benefiting the animal, or

(ii) the purpose of protecting a person, property or another animal,

(d) whether the suffering was proportionate to the purpose of the conduct concerned,

(e) whether the conduct concerned was in the circumstances that of a reasonably competent and humane person.

(5) This section does not apply to the destruction of an animal in an appropriate and humane manner.

Section 24 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 provides:

Ensuring welfare of animals

(1) A person commits an offence if the person does not take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which the person is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice.

(2) The circumstances to which, for the purposes of subsection (1), regard is to be had include:

(a) any lawful purpose for which the animal is kept,

(b) any lawful activity undertaken in relation to the animal.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), an animal's needs include:

(a) its need for a suitable environment,

(b) its need for a suitable diet,

(c) its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,

(d) any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and

(e) its need to be protected from suffering, injury and disease.

(4) This section does not apply to the destruction of an animal in an appropriate and humane manner.

Section 37 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 provides:

Animal Welfare Codes

(8) A person's failure to comply with a provision of an animal welfare code does not of itself render the person liable to proceedings of any sort.

(9) In any proceedings for an offence under this Part, or under regulations made under section 26 or 27:

(a) failure to comply with a relevant provision of an animal welfare code may be relied upon as tending to establish liability,

(b) compliance with a relevant provision of an animal welfare code may be relied upon as tending to negative liability.

Offences and Penalties

A person who is convicted of an offence under section 19 (Unnecessary suffering) of the Act may be imprisoned for a maximum period of 12 months and/or fined up to £20,000. If they are convicted of an offence under section 24 (Ensuring welfare of animals) or section 29 (Abandonment) they can be imprisoned for a maximum period of 6 months and fined up to level 5 on the standard scale - the maximum is currently £5,000.