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Ford v. Wiley 23 QBD 203

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.

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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. Case
Hopson v. DPP [1997] C.O.D. 229

The owner of a bird of prey had kept it in a wire aviary for at least six weeks, during which it had injured itself by repeatedly flying into the wire mesh. Having been convicted on these facts of an offence of cruelly ill-treating the bird contrary to the first limb of s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911, he appealed, contending that under that limb, unlike the second limb, he should only have been convicted if he was guilty of a positive act of deliberate cruelty. Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that a person could be guilty of cruel ill-treatment of an animal he was responsible for by allowing it to remain in a situation where it was continuing to injure itself, even if he did not desire to bring about the harm.

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Isted v. CPS (1998) 162 J.P. 513 [1998] Crim. L.R. 194; [1998] C.O.D. 86; (1998) 162 J.P.N. 663; The Times, December 11, 1997

The appellant was a keeper of livestock who had shot and injured a neighbor's dog that had strayed into the appellant's pig pen. He had been convicted of doing an act causing unnecessary suffering to the dog contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a) (second limb). Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that the local justices were entitled to find as a matter of fact that it had not been reasonably necessary to shoot the dog.

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James v. RSPCA EWHC 1642 Defendant was charged with unnecessary suffering towards three horses found in terrible conditions. It was held that where a protected animal is found in distress, a veterinarian's certificate need not be in writing for a constable or inspector to exercise powers under Section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (namely seizure and detention). Oral certification of suffering will suffice in certain circumstances, for example where the protected animal requires urgent treatment and there is not sufficient time to produce a written certificate. Case
Johnson v. Needham [1909] 1 KB 626

The Court upheld a decision of local justices to dismiss an information that the defendant "did cruelly ill-treat, abuse, and torture a certain animal" contrary to the Cruelty to Animals Act 1849, s. 2 (1). The Act made it an offence to ill-treat, abuse, or torture an animal, and thereby established three separate offences from which the prosecutor should have elected. Note: Although the 1949 Act has been repealed, similar language appears in the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a), and presumably the same reasoning applies to that statutory provision.

Case
Legal Protection of Animals in the UK Alice Collinson Animal Legal & Historical Center Detailed discussion of animal cruelty offences and positive legal duties to promote animal welfare in the UK. These provisions are found in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 applicable to England and Wales, and in corresponding legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Prohibited offences include "unnecessary suffering," mutilation, docking of dogs' tails, administration of poisons and animal fighting. Article
McQuaker v. Goddard [1940] 1 KB 687

A camel is not to be regarded as a wild animal by the common law as a camel 'is, in all countries, a domestic animal, an animal that has become trained to the uses of man, and a fortiori accustomed to association with man.' Whether an animal is to be regarded as wild or domestic is a question of law, and is to be judged according to the genus or class of which it belongs, not the characteristics of the individual animal.

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Nye v. Niblett [1918] 1 KB 23

Three boys who had killed two farm cats were charged with an offence which could only have been committed if the cats were kept for a "domestic purpose". Local justices had acquitted the boys, in part because there no evidence was before them that the cats that were killed had been kept for a domestic purpose. Allowing the prosecutor's appeal, the Divisional Court held that there was no need to prove that a particular animal was in fact kept for a domestic purpose if it belonged to a class of animals which were ordinarily so kept.

Case
Overview of UK Animal Protection Legislation Alice Collinson Animal Legal & Historical Center This article provides an overview of animal cruelty offences and positive legal duties to promote animal welfare in the UK. These provisions are found in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 applicable to England and Wales, and in corresponding legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Prohibited offences include "unnecessary suffering," mutilation, docking of dogs' tails, administration of poisons and animal fighting.' Article

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