Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Secretary of State for The Home Office v. BUAV and the Information Commissioner [2008] EWHC 892 (QB Appeal concerning the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and experiments involving animals. The BUAV had made an information request in respect of five research project licenses issued under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Home Office released limited summary information, relying on exemptions under FOIA to reason this; namely under section 24(1) which would prohibit information from being disclosed that had been given “in confidence.” The Court of Appeal upheld the decision that the Home Office was entitled to refuse BUAV’s information request.
Larobina v R [2009] NSWDC 79

The appellant appeal against a conviction for animal cruelty sustained in a lower court. After an examination of the elements of the statutory offense, it was found that the charge upon which the conviction was sustained was unknown to law.

City of Armidale v Kiraly [2009] WASC 199

The respondent, an owner of a brindle boxer dog, was charged with the dog attacking a person and for having the dog in a public place without a leash. The dog had escaped from the respondent's house and allegedly ran to and lunged at a lady delivering pamphlets. On appeal, the question of whether the dog's behaviour constituted an 'attack' for the purposes of the Dog Act 1976 (WA) s 33D(1) was a question of fact to be determined by the trial judge and, accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

Ward v RSPCA [2010] EWHC 347 (Admin) RSPCA inspectors attended Mr Ward’s smallholding to find two horses in a severely distressed condition, with a worm infestation. Veterinarian advice had not been sought following failed attempts to home treat. The farmer was convicted of unnecessary suffering pursuant to section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and disqualified from owning, keeping, participating in the keeping of, or controlling or influencing the way horses or cattle are kept for a three year period, pursuant to section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The defendant brought an appeal to the Crown Court and the High Court in respect of the disqualification. The High Court dismissed the appeal and held that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was intended to promote the welfare of animals and part of the mechanism of protection is the order of disqualification following convictions for offences under the Act.
Windridge Farm Pty Ltd v Grassi [2010] NSWSC 335

The defendants entered the plaintiff's land, containing a piggery, with the intention of taking photographs and film footage to establish that the plaintiff failed to meet certain standards. The defendants' argument that the plaintiff was not entitled to injunctive relief because of 'unclean hands' was dismissed by the court. The court also found that the defensive argument based on 'implied freedom of political communication' did not have application in the circumstances.

Robertson v Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries [2010] QCA 147

An Inspector of the RSPCA entered premises occupied by the respondent and seized 104 dogs under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 which were then forfeited to the state. These actions were confirmed when the respondent sought an administrative review of the decisions and leave to appeal was refused. The respondent sought to raise numerous grounds of appeal against the prior refusal of leave to appeal, however, the appeal was struck out.

Dart v Singer [2010] QCA 75

The applicants pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) following the seizure of 113 live dogs, one cat, 488 rats, 73 mice, 12 guinea pigs and 11 birds from their premises due to unsanitary and inappropriate living conditions. The applicants claimed that RSPCA officers were acting ultra vires and that a stay preventing the RSCPA from parting with the animals should be effected. The applicants' argument failed.

Gray v. RSPCA [2013] EWHC 500 (Admin) Mr Gray appealed against the police seizure of 115 horses from his horse trading premises, pursuant to section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Gray had been convicted of numerous counts of cruelty, specifically under sections 4 and 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Mr Gray argued that an offence under sections 4 and 9 required either actual knowledge or a form of constructive knowledge that the animal was showing signs of unnecessary suffering, and that negligence was not sufficient. It was held that the plain effect of section 4(1) of the Act is to impose criminal liability for unnecessary suffering caused to an animal either by an act or omission which the person responsible knew would, or was likely to, cause unnecessary suffering, or by a negligent act or omission. Further, it was held that section 9(1) of the Act sets a purely objective standard of care which a person responsible for an animal is required to provide.
RSPCA v. McCormick [2016] EWHC 928 (Admin) It was held that for an animal fight to have taken place, contrary to Section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act, the following must have occurred: a "protected animal" must have been placed with another animal in an environment where the ability of both to escape is restricted and controlled by some person or persons connected with that activity or by some artificial restraint. ‘Placed with’ is to be construed as a ‘matter of normal language.’
R v. Woodward [2017] EWHC 1008 (Admin) A group of abattoir slaughter-men were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a number of sheep under Section 4(1) the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The abattoir owners were charged with failing to prevent the acts by their employees which caused the animals to suffer contrary to Section 4(2) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The charges followed undercover footage obtained by Animal Aid, which was then passed onto the Food Standards Agency, and the Crown Prosecution Service. In this case, the Crown brought an appeal against the district judge’s decision to dismiss the prosecution on the grounds that the sixth-month time limit under the 2006 Act had expired. The appeal was allowed.
Webb v. Avon [2017] EWHC 3311 This case addressed the power of the court to make a contingent destruction order under Section 4B of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended). These orders allow dangerous dogs to be released and kept under strict conditions. The court held that the 19991 Act is not clear as to the breadth of who these conditions apply to, but considered that dangerous dogs may only be released to their owners or other persons properly identified as being in charge. The case was remitted to the Crown Court for further determination. The court also addressed other aspects of the 1991 Act along with the Dangerous Dogs Exemption Schemes (England and Wales) Order 2015.
Redcliffe, St Mary the Virgin (Petition) [2020] ECC Bri 1 Finding that a 'non-lethal' electric shock pest control system set up to deter pigeons in a church may cause suffering, but the suffering is not unnecessary suffering under s4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It was held that the conduct could not be reasonably avoided in the particular circumstances of the case, including damage caused to a grade I listed church, the chance of distress caused by the fouling of the birds, and that other pest control methods had failed. "Any suffering caused would be for a legitimate purpose ... that is the protection of property. ...the suffering is proportionate to preserve the building and to avoid distress to staff, visitors to the church and members of the congregation."

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