United Kingdom

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Bandeira and Brannigan v. RSPCA


Where a person has sent a dog into the earth of a fox or sett of a badger with the result that a confrontation took place between the dog and a wild animal, and the dog experienced suffering, it will be open to the tribunal of fact to find that the dog has been caused unnecessary suffering and that an offence has been committed under section 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911.

Barnard v. Evans


The expression "cruelly ill-treat"" in s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 means to "cause unnecessary suffering" and "applies to a case where a person wilfully causes pain to an animal without justification for so doing". It is sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the animal was caused to suffer unnecessarily, and the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant knew that his actions were unnecessary.

Barrington v. Colbert


A net was placed over one opening of a land drain and a terrier dog sent into the other entrance with the objective of prompting a fox to run into the net. Magistrates acquitted the defendants of doing an act causing unnecessary suffering to the fox contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a). The Divisional Court dismissed the prosecutor's appeal, holding that, applying

Rowley v Murphy

[1964] 2 QB 43, the fox was not a "captive animal" within the meaning of s 15(c) of the 1911 Act, mere confinement not being sufficient, and was therefore outside the protection of that Act.

Brief Summary of United Kingdom (UK) Animal Law This brief summary discusses animal protection legislation in the United Kingdom (UK).
British Game Law


A full explaination of the laws of game for the British. 1800-1850 with notes from US experience.

Chalmers v. Diwell


Defendant was an exporter of pet birds. He kept birds at a premises in the course of his business. Usually the birds remained on the premises for less than 48 hours before continuing their journey to their purchasers but on occasion birds had remained on the premises for up to 12 days. A magistrates' court acquitted him of keeping a pet shop without a licence (contrary to Pet Animals Act 1951, s.1). Prosecutor appealed. Result: appeal allowed. Held: even though the premises was being used as no more than a holding center, the defendant was carrying on from that premises a business of selling pets and the premises therefore required a pet shop license.

Detailed Discussion of the Licensing and Regulation of Pet Shops (U.K.)


Detailed discussion of the Pet Animals Act 1951 which provides for the licensing of pet shops by local authorities, and prohibits the sale of pet animals in public places and from market stalls, and to persons under 12 years of age.

Detailed Discussion of the Offences of Cruelty to Domestic and Captive Animals (U.K.)


Detailed discussion of the offences of cruelty to domestic and captive animals. These offences are contained in section 1(1) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 and section 1 of the Abandonment of Animals Act 1960.

Ford v. Wiley


A farmer who had caused the horns of his cattle to be sawn off, a procedure which had caused great pain, was liable to conviction for cruelty. For an operation causing pain to be justifiable, it had to be carried out in pursuit of a legitimate aim that could not reasonably be attained through less painful means, and the pain inflicted had to be proportionate to the objective sought. The mere fact that the defendant believed that the procedure was necessary did not remove him from liability to conviction if, judged according to the circumstances that he believed to exist, his actions were not objectively justifiable.

Gray v. RSPCA 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.

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