Documents to download

Under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to inflict unnecessary suffering on an animal. In determining whether an offence has been committed, it must be considered whether suffering was for a “legitimate purpose”, such as protecting a person or property. The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill is a private member’s bill which would disregard this consideration in cases related to police dogs and horses, making prosecution easier. The exemption proposed by the bill would only apply if the animal is under the control of a relevant officer and was being used appropriately at the time of the incident; it would not apply if the defendant is the relevant officer.

The bill was presented in the House of Commons on 13 June 2018 by Sir Oliver Heald (Conservative MP for North East Hertfordshire) and gained official Government support shortly after.  The bill passed second reading on 6 July 2018 without debate and received cross-party support at committee stage on 16 January 2019. It completed its Commons stages on 8 February 2019, passing through the House without amendment. The bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 11 February 2019, sponsored by Viscount Trenchard (Conservative), and is scheduled for second reading on 1 March 2019. Although it is not a government bill, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has produced the bill’s explanatory notes, with the consent of Viscount Trenchard.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • ‘Hate crime’ is used to describe a range of criminal behaviour that a victim or other person perceives to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. These aspects of a person’s identity are referred to as ‘protected characteristics’. There have been recent calls to extend the protected characteristics to cover sex and gender. This would see misogyny become a hate crime.

  • The regulation of organic products, and of genetically modified organisms, is based on EU law. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings this EU law into UK statute, so that it will continue to have effect after the end of the transition period. Amendments since have ensured that the retained law refers to the UK system, not the EU. However, under the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland will remain subject to the EU’s laws. This article looks at two statutory instruments that further amend the 2019 regulations so that they refer only to Great Britain, enabling Northern Ireland to continue to meet EU law.