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Notes to Chapter 3:      Keeping of Animals/Care of Animals

A.                 General Regulations
Section 12     Principles of Keeping Animals
Section 13     Qualifications of the Animal Keeper
Section 14     Care in Case of Illness of Injury

B.                 Special Regulations
Section 15     Principles of Animal Breeding
Section 16     Keeping of Animals within the Scope of Business Activities
Section 17     Sale and Trading of Animals
Section 18     Abandoned, Stray or Lost Animals and Confiscated Animals
Section 19     General and Commercial Transport of Animals
Section 20     Humane Killing and Slaughter of Animals
Section 21     Principles of Animal Training


Animal keeping is one of the issues which no longer focuses exclusively on the human-animal relationship, but warrants additional specified requirements for the treatment of those animals which are in the hands of humans and thus are subject to the imperative of increased consideration and care on the part of humans. It is irrelevant in this context whether the animal in question is in human custody on a permanent basis or only temporarily, as for instance in the case of animal transportation (as per the definition of ‘keeper’).

A.    General Regulations

Section 12    Principles of Keeping Animals

Section 12 (1): The ‘Principles of Keeping Animals’ serve first and foremost to safeguard the animal’s well-being. The most important relevant consideration, with reference to the ethical guiding principles of the law, is that the animal has to be treated and kept commensurate and appropriate to its species-specific and individual needs and requirements: meaning supplied with appropriate food/nourishment, liquid and care, as well as a suitable accommodation, sufficient room for exercise and also the possibility for social interaction - without exception. In addition, the animal shall be able to live without pain, suffering, injury, fear or distress.

To Pt. 1: This provision would cover not only the need to provide food and drink of an appropriate type and quantity, but also to ensure that it is accessible (for example, in the case of drink this should be presented in a manner that enables an animal to drink naturally e.g. from a drinking nipple for young animals) and also appropriate from a behavioural point of view (for example, permitting foraging where such behaviour is natural).

Section 12 (2): This provision will prohibit the use of housing systems that fail to comply with the animal welfare requirements detailed in Section 12 (1) and any prescribed minimum standards. It is considered good practice for the Competent Authority to establish more detailed minimum standards for housing systems, in order to equip the industry with more concrete advice and guidance in this regard (which is particularly valuable where potentially high investments are at stake). Thus Section (7) vests the Competent Authority with the necessary authorisation to provide such guidance – see below.

Section 12 (3) and (4): In accordance with agreed animal welfare principles and the latest animal welfare regulations, any permanent chaining or tethering should be completely prohibited. Any chaining or tethering should only be a temporary measure to safeguard the animal’s welfare. Ideally, all chaining or tethering should be inadmissible, if other methods of restraint are available which are more welfare-friendly.
Dogs should not be tethered more than temporarily (for example to restrain them when out e.g. on a visit to the veterinarian), or on a running chain which permits free movement (a walled garden would be preferable, if available – but it is recognised that this is not always possible or practical) However, this provision would in no way prevent a dog from being walked on a leash.

Section 12 (6): An animal within the social unit of a family is often appreciated as an integral part of this emotional coexistence of spouses, children and pet. Thus there is also an increasing number of disputes over ownership of animals, particularly companion animals when marriages or partnerships break up. These have the potential to significantly affect the welfare of the animals, unless resolved in a manner which prioritises the welfare of the individual animal. Therefore custody of the animal has to be granted to the person who is willing to assume the duties of the keeper of the animal and at the same time is in the best position to ensure the well-being of the animal.

Section 12 (7): In relation to Section (2) above, in addition to providing authorisation for the Competent Authority to determine minimum standards for housing systems, this Section provides powers for the requirement of prior authorisation of systems. This is an effective method of ensuring that only systems which meet the given criteria are introduced. Such a scheme can be established for any new systems, and existing systems given a phase-out period, during which they have to be adapted or replaced if necessary in order to comply. The prior authorisation scheme prevents the (costly) acquisition of new systems which fail to comply, and are unacceptable from a welfare perspective, i.e. it provides clarity and reassurance regarding the acceptability of new housing systems before any investment is made.
[Experience shows that lack of clear specifications and guidance causes the industry to rally against change, when it has made significant investments in non-compliant systems.]

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Section 13    Qualifications of the Animal Keeper

Section 13 (1): Although at times it would seem very welcome to impose stricter requirements on the animal keeper than usually legally mandatory, in general everybody has a right to keep animals provided that they are capable of complying with the law. An exception from this entitlement is made in the case that the animal keeper has been banned from keeping animals due to prior violations of the subject Act or any other legislation.

Section 13 (2): The demand for expertise in the keeping of animals is only recently being introduced into animal welfare legislation. This was also included in the OIE’s General Principles (Chapter 7.1. of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, Article 7.1.4 Pt. 11) which states that: ”Owners and handlers should have sufficient skill and knowledge to ensure that animals are treated in accordance with these principles”. It has long been recognised that this plays an important contribution to the well-being of animals. Clearly, a number of violations of the law could be prevented if animal keepers had greater knowledge and understanding of humane keeping, handling and care of animals in connection with their tasks and duties. Thus it is considered essential that this aspect is covered in any modern animal welfare law.
There is no general requirement within this law for a formally recognised proof of knowledge and skills, because this was not felt to be universally necessary (for example, in the case of companion animals). However, it is recognised that this provision would leave some scope for interpretation, and that this could be particularly problematic in commercial transactions (whereby an animal owner or keeper would need to prove ‘due diligence’ in complying with the law). Thus it is considered that this aspect would need to be realised and implemented by statutory regulations and legal obligations.
Also, initiatives supporting and promoting information, awareness and education/training are core issues to be followed up simultaneously.

Section 13 (3) and (4): It is every keeper’s obligation to ensure that he/she has access to the relevant information, advice and education/training. In a commercial situation, it is envisaged that a company/employer would provide this for its employees (either by employing those already qualified, or by providing the necessary training/qualification). The provision requiring animal owners to ensure that keepers have the necessary knowledge and required skills would cover both the situation where an animal keeping enterprise is obliged to comply with these requirements (by ensuring that employees were properly trained/qualified), and where an owner of any animal gives his/her animal into the keeping of another (for example, a transporter, slaughterhouse, boarding kennel etc.). In such circumstances, the owner would need to satisfy him/herself that the keeper in question was appropriately trained/qualified (thus safeguarding the welfare of his/her animal).

Section 13 (5): This provision will need to be tailored to local jurisdictions (as some countries may have a set age at which young people are no longer considered minors requiring guardian’s consent).

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Section 14    Care in Case of Illness or Injury

This injunction makes provisions against any indifference and negligence rendered towards an ill or injured animal, and wants to clearly foster a sense of responsibility and empathy for the needy and vulnerable animal. Animals which show signs of pain or distress, but are not evidently ill or injured, also need to be inspected, and the cause of their pain or distress identified. In cases where the cause of the animal’s pain or distress cannot be identified and/or where the owner/keeper is not able to remedy the animal’s illness or injury, then veterinary attention must be provided.
The duty to separate a sick animal is not only in the interest of its own well-being, but also serves to avoid the risk of infecting other healthy animals.

Further aspects to be stressed: Here again consideration could be given to including a paragraph in each section giving the Minister or the Competent Authority the authorisation to adopt any regulations [and, as appropriate, establish ‘Welfare Codes’, standards and guidance] in order to provide further interpretation or detail in support of certain provisions (or, for example, to allow for exceptions).

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B.    Special Regulations

Section 15    Principles of Animal Breeding

Breeding should only exculpate a selection for physically and mentally healthy animals and thus support and encourage positive and natural development, and not bioengineering in its most negative spin-offs. Consequently inhumane breeding practices or breeding for unhealthy traits are prohibited. Equally the concept of breeding and releasing transgenic animals encounters strong resistance and opposition, and legitimate concerns about unintended detrimental consequences: Thus countries should also consider a ban of these methods.

Section 15 (4): Breeding for positive welfare traits is encouraged. However, animals should not be purposefully bred for adaptation to industrial farming systems; as when systems do not provide good welfare, then it is the system that should be changed, and not the animal.

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Section 16    Keeping of Animals within the Scope of Business Activities

Section 16 (1): As with some of the before mentioned activities, the keeping and breeding of animals for business purposes falls under the categories requiring an authorisation in accordance with Section 29. Each jurisdiction can decide whether this should in the form of registration or licensing. Animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres have not been included in the list because they are usually not-for-profit enterprises, and have been dealt with separately under Section 38.
Consideration would be given to excluding dog walkers and dog/cat sitters from this provision, where this is carried out as a ‘pocket-money business’ (like baby-sitting), and not a regular activity run on a profit-making business model (such as a kennel, dog hotel etc.).
An authorisation system enables the Competent Authority to control and restrict certain activities, as well as facilitating the monitoring of businesses. For example, if there is an overpopulation problem with dogs or cats, then they could decide to prohibit commercial breeding of these animals; or severely restrict and control the number of authorised breeders. Intensive breeding of companion animals (such as in ‘puppy mills’ or ‘puppy farms’ should be expressly prohibited, and no authorisations given for such activities).

Section 16 (2): This section covers the fundamental requirements of the authorisation process. Further requirements could be added by regulations [supplemented as necessary by ‘Welfare Codes’, standards and guidance], as required; see Section 16 (9).

Section 16 (3): Information which has to be kept available and has to be supplied for inspection.

Section 16 (4): This enables the authorities to know the location and contact details of all animal enterprises, so they can identify unauthorised activities; and/or advise enterprises of any new requirements or prohibitions.

Section 16 (7): When certain activities using animals are prohibited, the welfare needs of the animals should be prioritised when determining optimum transitional periods. For example, in the case of bans on circuses, a short transitional period may lead to animals’ lives being taken needlessly, simply because it takes some time to successfully relocate wild animals. Whereas in other situations, such as farming situations where animals are suffering during their lifespan and are due to be killed shortly in any case, then a shorter transitional period would be preferable. Each situation should be determined on its merits, from the standpoint of animal welfare.

Section 16 (8): This provision will work to encourage keepers or producers of animals for business or economic activities to put pressure on their breeders to obtain the necessary authorisation for breeding, and thereby ensure that they are controlled by the competent authorities to ensure compliance with animal welfare requirements. It is a safeguard to protect the health and welfare of animals in the commercial supply chain.

Section 16 (9): Businesses with a high rate of unwanted animals, such as racing horses or greyhounds, should be carefully monitored and in case of any ongoing problems with surplus animals, such businesses or activities should be closed down, or at the very least only authorised if they fund shelters or sanctuaries for animals no longer used.

Section 16 (10): This provision authorises the Competent Authority to issue regulations [and, as appropriate, ‘Welfare Codes’, standards and guidance] covering any or all aspects of keeping or breeding animals in the scope of business or economic activities. These would include (but not be limited to)

  • The power to withdraw or deny authorisations for any particular type of category of activity or any species of animal, or to restrict authorisation to stipulated species and numbers of animals (in the light of changing scientific research, needs or requirements, particular welfare concerns, or moral criteria). [Thus ensuring that fresh authorisation would need to be obtained before any novel or different species were introduced, or any increase made to the numbers of animals - above the maximum authorised (which may affect animal welfare)]; and
  • Authority to issue detailed requirements concerning authorisation and application processes (including aspects such as record keeping; premises, facilities and accommodation; feeding and care; health and hygiene; skills/training; and humane methods for animal management activities); and even the implementation of a complete ban on the keeping of certain animal species or the production, possession, sale, offering for sale, or use of certain animal products. [To ensure that international obligations can be met (for example, CITES restrictions); as well as ensuring that protection can be afforded to vulnerable animals including those whose conservation status or welfare needs are threatened].

This will enable the authorities to follow the general principles established in Section 6 and, in particular, Section 6 (4) (whereby the different purposes for which animals are kept and used must be regularly re-evaluated) and Section 6 (5) (whereby when it is found that the needs of different species cannot be met in captivity, the species must not be kept by humans).

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Section 17    Sale and Trading of Animals

Section 17 (1): If the ownership of an animal is transferred to another person/enterprise it has to be ensured that the person/enterprise who will now be in charge of the animal has all the general knowledge and information to be able to care for the animal’s well-being in all aspects. This provision deals with this need, and provides for evidence of compliance so the Competent Authority is able to enforce the provision.

Section 17 (2): This section is similar to Section 16 (1) but relates to the trading and sale of animals. It requires authorisation in accordance with Section 29. The list provided in Section 29 (1) is a non-exhaustive enumeration of activities which require authorisation from the authorities; and there should be discussion and consultation on which activities should be expressly included.
As has been stated in regard to Section 16 (1) above, this system provides a helpful framework for the authorities to establish and notify relevant requirements (with updates as necessary), and to carry out effective enforcement. These provisions will help to maintain permanent supervision and control on the trade of animals, which should serve to protect animals from unregulated breeding as well as from any unchecked black-market-type trading. However, the private transfer of ownership of individual animals within the regulations of the subject Act still can be undertaken without restrictions or any need for authorisation.

Sections 17 (3) - (9): The comments given under Section 16 (2) – (8) above apply, as relevant to the trading and selling of animals.

Section 17 (6): In some countries (such as the U.S.), this provision may evoke constitutional concerns, where no appeal rights are issued. This may not be the case elsewhere, but an effective appeals procedure is recommended in all cases, to avoid any unjust application of the provision.

Section 17 (10): This provision has been included to ensure that dogs and cats are not offered for sale at random sales outlets, as this would not only be detrimental to the welfare of the animals being held for sale, but could also encourage impulse buying (which frequently leads to later abandonment or neglect). Ideally other animals prone to spontaneous purchasing, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters etc., should also fall under this prohibition.

Section 17 (11): This provision specifically authorises the Competent Authority to restrict or ban the trade or sale of certain wild animals and/or wildlife products. This is to ensure that international obligations can be met (for example, CITES restrictions); as well as ensuring that protection can be afforded to vulnerable animals including those whose conservation status or welfare needs are threatened. Likewise in countries where the breeding and releasing of transgenic animals has been banned simultaneously the sale and trading of transgenic animals has to be prohibited, too.
This rule is separated from the general provision to introduce regulations [supplemented as necessary by ‘Welfare Codes’, standards and guidance] contained in Section 17 (12) for purposes of emphasis and expressed intent. This protection has to be read in conjunction with Section 16, which includes the power to introduce a complete ban on the keeping of certain animal species or the production, possession, sale, offering for sale, or use of certain animal products. The logic for this separation is that this section deals with trade and sale of animals; whereas Section 16 deals with the ‘Keeping of Animals within the Scope of Business Activities’.

Section 17 (12): This would include the power to withdraw or deny authorisations for any particular type of trading or selling activity or any species of animal, or to restrict authorisation to stipulated species and numbers of animals (in the light of changing scientific research, needs or requirements, particular welfare concerns, or moral criteria); authority to issue detailed requirements concerning authorisation requirements and the application process (including aspects such as record keeping; premises, facilities and accommodation; feeding and care; health and hygiene; skills/training); and even the implementation of a complete ban on the trading or selling of certain animals or animal products as well as certain methods of selling – for example, a ban on the selling of animals over the Internet is highly recommended; and many countries ban the selling of companion animals through public sales or displays (in order to prevent impulse buying and protect their welfare).
This goes wider than wildlife alone, and may be needed to protect animals other than wildlife, in relation to any threat to their welfare or conservation status (and this protection also has to be read in conjunction with the Explanatory Notes of Section 16 (9)).

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Section 18    Abandoned, Stray or Lost Animals and Confiscated Animals

These provisions would cover various species of animals, and need to be carefully drafted to take account of the local situation. For example, whilst stray dogs may need to be managed in some high population urban communities (to preserve animal and human health and welfare), in other places – such as rural areas or townships, stray dogs may be welcomed and cared for communally as ‘community’ animals. In some countries, farmed animals may also graze communally or wander (including, for example, cows and/or horses abandoned by their previous owners or keepers).

Section 18 (1): Within the law the Competent Authority has the duty to guarantee the proper accommodation and care of any abandoned, stray or lost animal, and equally for any animal which has been confiscated or taken away by the authority, or their designated agents.

The system established by the Competent Authority would need to determine who they would designate as agents for the capture, removal and taking away of these animals. Responsibilities would need to be delineated, and appropriate conditions agreed. In this regard, the usual choice is either for municipalities/local authorities to employ their own ‘Animal Wardens’ for this purpose or to contract the duty to appointed ‘Animal Welfare Officers’, who usually work for animal welfare organisations/animal shelters and have undergone appropriate training in the capture and handling of animals.

The OIE’s international standard on Stray Dog Population Control states that the Veterinary Services should play a leading role in dog population management, coordinating their activities with other competent public institutions and/or agencies. The same principle should apply to other species.
The Police Service is also frequently required to play a part, usually in relation to enforcement.

The Competent Authority would also need to determine who they would accept as an appropriately authorised person, institution or organisation to house, care for – and possibly neuter and rehome – these animals. Here again, some municipalities/local authorities have their own animal holding facilities – and there is no objection to this, providing the welfare needs of the animals can be secured. However, contracting animal welfare organisations to carry out the duty is the most common option: This can help to provide a comprehensive and welfare-friendly service, whilst also using the animal welfare organisation and its contacts to promote re-homing of unwanted animals, and responsible animal care education and awareness.
In this case the animal shelter or institution would take over this obligation as an explicitly defined own mission.
Any animal shelter or institution being assigned this duty would need to comply with the legally stated prerequisites.

Section 18 (2): The animal shelter or institution should receive appropriate compensation for its services, and any related expenditure, from the authorities. The amount and form of remuneration would be agreed upon between the authorities and the animal shelter or institution. For example, a contract could be established setting out the concrete modalities, including set compensation for services in form of fixed daily fees, plus an agreement to refund any reasonable associated ‘out of pocket’ expenses.
The owner of the animal remains liable for repayment of all reasonable service charges and expenses incurred for the capture and safeguarding of the animal (as a civil debt) – provided he/she can be located.

Section 18 (7): This could include any necessary further provisions in the context of abandoned, stray or lost animals and confiscated animals. These could include

  • The delineation of responsibilities, including a ‘duty to enforce’;
  • Detailed requirements concerning the designation of agents for the capture, removal and taking away of these animals, including responsibilities, powers and appropriate terms and conditions (including aspects such as authorisation/licensing, skills/training, transport and equipment, record keeping, and access for inspection checks);
  • Detailed requirements concerning the authorisation/licensing of persons, institutions or organisations to house, care for – and possibly neuter, vaccinate and rehome – these animals, including responsibilities, powers and appropriate terms and conditions (including aspects such as authorisation/licensing, skills/training, premises, transport and equipment, record keeping, and access for inspection checks);
  • Procedures regarding the official publication of animals found; and
  • Prerequisites and conditions when ownership can be transferred to a third party (for example, neutering and checks on potential new owners).

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Section 19    General and Commercial Transport of Animals

The legal regulations on animal transport do not only cover the transport itself, which includes any kind of transfer or relocation of the animal from one place to another, but also the loading and unloading of the animal.

Section 19 (1) - (5): Are general provisions, covering all live animal transport. The remainder of the provisions cover only the commercial transport of live animals (carried out in connection with any business/economic activity).

Section 19 (6) Pt. 4: Space allowances will need to be determined based on latest scientific evidence and best practice. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) recommends in its ‘Scientific Opinion Concerning the Welfare of Animals during Transport’ (EFSA Journal 2011; 9(1)), (pp 81-84), a more flexible and objective approach for the establishment of space allowance (than the current tables based on species, and using large intervals). Animal transports involve all different age/weight stages, and EFSA considers that an allometric equation would give a much more objective calculation of the space allowance to the benefit of animal welfare and, at the same time, be of great assistance for both the transporters and the controlling authorities. They also recommended that space allowance for horses should be seen in relation to area per kg rather than area per animal. Space allowances also need to be adjusted for journey times and ambient climatic conditions.

Section 19 (2) and (6) Pt. 9: Feeding and watering requirements need to be appropriate to the method of transport, as well as the species and individual animal. For example, it may not be practical to use water containers on the floor, due to potential spillages and contamination, so nipple drinkers should be provided as an alternative. In such cases, animals may need to be acclimatised to drinking in a new way before they are transported (otherwise they can die of dehydration because they are unable to use the form of water dispenser available).
Another example would be the transportation of aquatic animals, where their welfare could be impaired by excretions in their water, if they were fed shortly before or during transport.

However, in the case that practical circumstances demand certain exemptions from general provisions, then species-specific requirements must be introduced in the form of regulations, ‘Welfare Codes’ or standards to protect the welfare of the animals during transport. Where this cannot be achieved consideration has to be given to introducing a complete ban on this life transport.

Section 19 (6) Pt. 13: The system of prior authorisation, based on the provision of route plans submitted in advance, is a vital part of enforcement. It necessitates prior planning on the part of the transporter, and enables the Competent Authority to arrange for veterinary inspection of ‘fitness to travel’ (and checks on other transport-related requirements). It can also link in with vehicle tracking and monitoring, to ensure that any maximum journey times, or staging and resting requirements, are correctly actioned. It is important that the veterinarian who is responsible for certifying ‘fitness to travel’ is responsible to the Competent Authority, as opposed to paid for by the transporter – to ensure fair and independent assessment.

To Pt. 16: The Competent Authority has to establish rules and regulations on ascertaining the individual animal’s fitness for transport, set maximum journey times as well as regular rest intervals and feeding and watering times. It is recommended that longer journeys (over 8 hours) are banned entirely. As regards fitness to travel, detailed rules shall be produced to ensure that an animal must be fit for the intended journey before the journey starts and must remain sufficiently fit throughout the journey. This means the animal should be healthy enough to tolerate the entire journey it is about to make (including loading, unloading and any journey breaks) with no or very little adverse effect on it; the journey should not cause the animal any suffering or injury. The OIE Code sets out in detail the types of animals that are considered unfit to travel and in any case of doubt, the precautionary principle should be applied.

To Pt. 17: Provision has been made for a special license for international trade, transport and sea journeys. This enables closer supervision and control of these journeys (and also the establishment of additional safeguards or the withdrawal of categories of special licences/permits where welfare problems are encountered). In this case further requirements will need to be imposed (for example staging points, resting periods and extra feeding and watering provisions). CITES implementation may also require specific measures to protect certain species. Furthermore, consideration should be given to prohibiting the export of live animals, replacing this by trade in carcasses or meat products. This is important from two perspectives: both the avoidance of suffering during transport and the fact that a country is unable to regulate and control the treatment and killing of its animals outside its jurisdiction.

Each country will need to consider its approach, based on its own situation. For example, whilst it may appear to be in the interests of animal welfare to ban certain types of sea transport for live animals, in some island states, a sea journey may be the only way to deliver an animal to the nearest slaughterhouse.

Section 19 (7): These would include any detailed provisions and guidelines which have to be taken into account in this context of live animal transport, including

  • The delineation of responsibilities, including a ‘duty to enforce’ and enforcement procedures and protocols to ensure effective and uniform enforcement;
  • The means of transport: vessels, aeroplane, vehicle and container specifications (including fixtures and fittings, lighting, and ventilation/temperature control, stabilisation); and inspection and certification of the means of transport;
  • Conditions and requirements for the registration and authorisation of businesses transporting animals;
  • The training and certification of transporters, drivers and handlers of live animals;
  • Additional specific requirements relating to the advance submission of journey plans and the authorisation system, including contingency plans for emergencies and requirements for journey tracking and logging;
  • Detailed requirements for suitable facilities and equipment at the start and end of the journey, and at any stops for resting/staging points during the journey: for the assembly, loading, unloading and holding of animals; for the washing and disinfection of vehicles after unloading; for emergencies and veterinary inspections; and the humane killing of animals when necessary;
  • The proper treatment of animals during transport and in loading and unloading: provision of adequate numbers of suitable trained and certified staff, particularly during loading and unloading; feeding, watering and rest requirements (including minimising any delays); inspection; veterinary assistance; temperature and humidity monitoring; protection from the elements; and the provision of appropriate bedding;
  • Special provisions for veterinary supervision, disease control, preventative actions to minimise delays to live transport consignments, and emergency response measures;
  • Specific requirements for different species, including detailed rules on fitness to travel (e.g. prohibitions on the transport of young animals (with age recommendations for different species), deer in velvet, shorn sheep in cold weather, or species in hot weather etc.); partitioning and mixing of animals; appropriate restraint, space and height allowances etc;
  • Any special requirements for animals transported by rail, road or sea, or over long distances;
  • Provisions governing travelling times, and water, feed and rest - including the establishment of maximum journey times for the transport of live animals, particularly for journeys to slaughter; and
  • Requirements for record keeping and powers of entry.

The latest animal welfare research should always be considered before establishing detailed requirements. For example, careful consideration should be given in relation to any requirements leading to journeys being broken (staging points for feeding or resting) – as unnecessary loading and unloading can exacerbate animal welfare problems unless sufficient time is given for recovery.
International requirements should also be taken into account – such as the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) regulations, CITES requirements, and the OIE’s international animal welfare standards (transport of animals by land, sea and air; and the transport of farmed fish).

It is also important to note that the improper transport of an animal which leads to an animal’s injury or to the animal suffering or experiencing pain, fear or distress can be penalised according to Section 7 AWA, i.e. ‘Cruelty to Animals’ (note Section 7 (2) Pt. 22). This would cover cases of inappropriate transport such as, for example, transporting an animal in the trunk of a car.

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Section 20    Humane Killing and Slaughter of Animals

This section covers all humane killing and slaughter, regardless of species and method. This is to ensure the application of coherent animal welfare principles across the board. However, detailed requirements will need to be elaborated to cover individual species, as they have very different needs and requirements to achieve a humane death.

Without prejudice to the prohibition of killing animals according to Section 9 and notwithstanding Section 7, Section 20 now states that the killing of an animal is only allowed if it is ensured that it is carried out in a humane way (with care, circumspection, respect, and as little negative effect on the animal as possible). The prohibition in Section 9 relates to the killing of animals without any ‘sound justification’. The production of food and other staple products is generally regarded as such a justification, (as would be, for example, the killing of animals for the purpose of ‘pest’ or disease control). However, as stated in the 2008 Policy of WSPA (now World Animal Protection), the different purposes for which animals are used must be regularly re-evaluated. For example, the killing of animals for inessential or luxury items (such as fur production or perfumes) could be viewed as ‘unsound’.

One other vital aspect of Section 20 is that killing or slaughtering any animal without prior and effective anaesthetisation or stunning before death is absolutely prohibited (see sub-section (3), as well as sub-section (5)) except in the case of emergency killing/slaughter (according to sub-section (4), (where general principles still apply). This specifically excludes cases where the animal is killed instantaneously due to the fact that this can be the most humane way of ending an animal’s life (because there is no possibility of the animal regaining consciousness in pain, as there is with stunning followed by exsanguination).

Regulations/detailed provisions on humane killing and slaughter should include all relevant requirements from the OIE’s international standards, including slaughter of animals for human consumption and dog population management (which has a section on euthanasia).

Section 20 (2) and (5): The provision regarding veterinary assistants can be amended to suit the prevailing system, i.e. whether veterinary assistants are registered, certified or licensed (or indeed any other form of authorisation) to practice as such.

Section 20 (4): Detailed guidance provided on the killing of animals and farmed fish for disease control purposes likewise should incorporate the provisions of the OIE’s international standards on these subjects.

Section 20 (7) and (12): A system of certification has been included for personnel as a means of ensuring that the necessary training has been undertaken, and the required degree of competence reached to safeguard animal welfare. This will enable the Competent Authority to accredit bodies to carry out the training, and to approve any training courses in advance. The requirement for certification will ensure that employers only recruit properly qualified staff, or assist personnel to train to the requisite level. The system can be amended and applied as suits local requirements e.g. licensing or registration, as opposed to certification.

Section 20 (8), (9) and (12): Detailed guidance issued on the design and construction of slaughterhouses should also include the principles given in the OIE’s international standard on the slaughter of animals for human consumption. A system of licensing has been included so the Competent Authority can ensure that all new slaughterhouses are designed to meet the necessary requirements. This prevents the situation occurring when new facilities are constructed which do not meet the latest standards; and then the costs of dismantling prove exorbitant or prohibitive. A reasonable transition period can be given for existing facilities to be updated to compliant standards.

Section 20 (11): Some countries already prohibit ritual or religious slaughter, as this prolongs death and suffering. However, where religious slaughter is permitted for specified local religious communities, then there should be a provision requiring immediate post-cut stunning; or – preferably – simultaneous stunning and throat cutting. Where this is permitted, a system is recommended where prior authorisation is required to approve limited religious slaughter, providing there is the required simultaneous or post-cut stunning; and systems to ensure that the meat produced is only provided to the relevant local religious communities.

Section 20 (12): Such provisions would contain restrictions or even implementation of a complete ban on certain killing or slaughter practices (including methods of restraint, stunning/anaesthesia or killing) or detailed provisions and guidelines which have to be taken into account in this context of humane killing or slaughter of animals, including

  • Requirements and specifications on the design and construction of slaughterhouses and lairages; their installations, equipment and instruments;
  • Requirements for the licensing of slaughterhouses and their installations, equipment and instruments including transitional periods during which existing facilities, installations and systems may be sold and used; allocation of responsibilities for licensing; allocation of costs; and procedures for official inspections;
  • The stunning, slaughtering and killing of animals, including the exsanguinations of animals;
  • Requirements for different species of animal including: appropriate care and welfare, unloading, movement/handling, restraint, stunning and anaesthetisation, humane killing, slaughtering and exsanguination;
  • The requirement to unload and lairage animals as soon as possible after arrival at a slaughterhouse;
  • The unloading, movement and handling of animals to and in lairages and slaughterhouses, including appropriate use of animal behaviour;
  • The requirement to slaughter/kill sick or injured animals humanely as soon as they arrive at the slaughterhouse (if possible at the site where they are found to be sick or injured, without being moved);
  • The requirement to humanely slaughter/kill lactating animals as soon as possible after arrival at the slaughterhouse;
  • The transportation and accommodation of animals within slaughterhouses;
  • The restraint and containing of animals before anaesthetising, slaughtering or killing;
  • Care and welfare of animals in the lairage and slaughterhouse;
  • Any restrictions and special provisions covering ritual or religious slaughter, if permitted. Conditions for the establishment and authorisation of slaughterhouses dedicated to ritual/religious slaughter, measures to ensure that such meat is only consumed by the relevant religious community, and additional animal welfare safeguards for such slaughter methods where permitted;
  • Restrictions on the substances/preparations which can be used for humane killing or anaesthesia, and guidance on the administration/use of permitted substances/preparations to ensure a humane death;
  • Detailed provisions on the welfare of animals during killing for disease control;
  • Special requirements for aquatic animals;
  • The euthanasia of companion animals;
  • The type of knowledge and skills required by staff, including training and expert knowledge, and details of the certification system for proof of compliance (including bodies accredited to conduct training and certification); and
  • Requirements for record keeping and powers of entry.

Go to Act

Section 21    Principles of Animal Training

Section 21 (2): Animal trainers need to be registered by the Competent Authority in order to facilitate the notification of any particular protective provisions, and to enable appropriate enforcement inspections to be carried out. It is recommended that each country investigates its own position as regards such sports, performances and exhibitions before deciding how to approach this provision. If there are many, and many of these are small-scale, then it may be considered necessary to include a ‘de minimus’ provision (exempting small-scale non-commercial events from the requirement to register). However, it is recommended that all commercial events are required to be registered (and pay an appropriate registration fee). Also it is suggested that any animal welfare concerns about exempted sports, performances and exhibitions are carefully investigated, with a view to removing the exemption if they are found to adversely affect animal welfare.

Sections 21 (3) - (5): If there is any doubt that the training of certain species; use of substances and drugs; or the use of training devices, aids or tools could contravene the provisions of this Act or impair animal welfare, then they should be prohibited. The provision to restrict use should only be applied in cases where there are no foreseen adverse impacts on animal welfare (but where it is considered that such use should be controlled and monitored as a precautionary measure).

Section 21 (3): Careful consideration should be given to the types of animal training that will be permitted. For example, the Competent Authority may decide to prohibit all training of wild animals, because this would be contrary to their natural species-specific behaviour and/or because such training would be likely to impair the animal’s welfare. But the Competent Authority might wish to consider permitting some degree of positive training of some wild animals where in the interest of the welfare of the individual animal (for example, to allow for safe handling for the purposes of veterinary inspection and/or treatment).

However, the Competent Authority may consider prohibiting all training (or indeed use) for itinerant animal shows in general because the transport and confinement inherent in this form of entertainment are likely to compromise animal welfare.

Section 21 (4): This provision requires the Competent Authority to bring forward measures to prohibit [or restrict] the use of any substances or drugs to enhance an animal’s performance or modify its behaviour because such substances/drugs can impair animal welfare. For example, drugs can mask pain – which can have the effect of making an animal perform beyond its natural limitations and/or despite injury or damage.

Section 21 (5): This provision requires the Competent Authority to bring forward measures to prohibit [or restrict] the use of certain technical training devices, aids or tools which could impair animal welfare. It is recognised that not all training devices, aids or tools would be detrimental to animal welfare. However, some clearly are – such as those employing electric shocks, or otherwise designed to produce pain (such as whips, spike collars, coral type pronged collars etc.).

Section 21 (6): This provision seeks to prohibit any use of a live animal to train a dog or other animals in ways that affect the welfare of the animal or the dog or other animals. However, this does not rule out training a dog for herding or guarding.

Section 21 (7): Unannounced inspections are necessary, otherwise training methods cannot be effectively checked.

Section 21 (8): These would contain restrictions or detailed provisions and guidelines which have to be taken into account in this context of animal training, including

  • Conditions and requirements for the registration and authorisation of persons and/or businesses training any animal for competitive or public sports, performance or exhibition.
  • The type of knowledge and skills required by persons training animals for competitive or public sports, performance or exhibition, including details of bodies accredited to conduct such training. [This could be included under the registration procedure envisaged in Section 21 (2) above. However, a distinct provision is recommended in case the Competent Authority decides to restrict registration to businesses, whilst introducing a separate system of skills accreditation/certification for each individual animal trainer. This provision also authorises the Competent Authority to appoint accredited training providers.]
  • Prohibitions and restrictions on the training of certain species of animals and/or the training of animals for certain types of sports, performance or exhibition.
  • Detailed provisions on the welfare of animals during training.
  • Listing prohibited technical devices, aids or tools for the training of animals for sports, performance or exhibition.
  • Requirements for record keeping and powers of entry.

Go to Act


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