Notes to Chapter 4: Specific Categories of Animal Use
Section 22 Companion Animals (Pet Animals)
Section 23 Animals Kept for Farming Purposes
Section 24 Animals Used for Experimentation (including Science, Research and Testing)
Section 25 Wildlife and Animals Kept in Zoos/Aquaria
Section 26 Animals Used for Work
Section 27 Animals Used for Sports, Leisure and Entertainment
Section 22 (1): Education and awareness programmes shall be designed to deter impulse buying of companion animals, encourage spaying and neutering of dogs and cats, prevent straying, and ensure that keepers understand how to care for their animals in order to safeguard their health and welfare.
Section 22 (2): The Competent Authority must monitor companion animal ownership and any problems arising to ensure that management measures are introduced in a timely and effective manner. The form of registration and identification implemented should be effective and suitable for the country’s socio-cultural environment and stage of technological development. For example, microchipping is an excellent technology for identification, but is only practical where equipment such as microchip readers can be rolled out nationally. In other cases, low tech solutions such as tattooing may be more practical.
Money from registration fees must be spent on animal welfare programmes for companion animals, including responsible ownership education and awareness.
Section 22 (3): Consideration should be given to making an annual visit to a veterinarian compulsory, either for an annual vaccination (where disease risk requires) or for an annual health check. However, this will need to be reviewed for each country individually, depending on criteria such as disease risk, animal health issues and availability and accessibility of veterinary services.
Section 22 (4): Free or low cost spay-neuter services may be an expensive endeavour initially, but on the other hand constitute an effective incentive for the owner to have their animals spayed/neutered and at the same time the decreases in the stray animal population that result will be favourable to any (developing) country. It will aid tourism to not have packs of roaming dogs on the streets, for instance. Collaboration with private sector veterinarians (e.g. in programmes to spay-neuter and vaccinate stray dogs) and NGOs (animal welfare organisations) is a common feature of dog management programmes. Indeed, the Competent Authority (or local authority) may invite tenders for companion animal stray management services, including animal warden/animal welfare officer services. In such cases, tenders and contracts must be carefully framed to ensure that the animals’ welfare is protected.
Section 22 (6): Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) programmes have been found to be an effective population control method for feral cats and dogs. They have also been used to control wild rabbit populations, and there has been interest in trialling programmes on other species (particularly introduced non-indigenous species). It is important that legislation is implemented to facilitate their use where they have been found to be effective and in the animals’ welfare interests, ensuring that there are no legal barriers (e.g. no possibility of prosecution for capturing/releasing wild animals in such cases). However, work is ongoing to develop non-surgical neutering methods, and these may provide a more humane alternative (particularly for wild animals, where capture and handling can be stressful).
Section 22 (7) and (8): Some countries may decide to have an explicit prohibition on killing healthy animals, in which case these provisions will need to be amended accordingly. However, this may not be feasible in other countries, (for example, where there is a serious stray control problem and no extensive shelter network, or where spay/neuter-release for both dogs and cats is not considered acceptable). It is for each country to decide on an appropriate approach for its own circumstances.
The approach of producing a positive list of species that may be kept as companion animals is preferred to the prohibition of certain species. Such a list automatically prohibits all others, and thus is less likely to become outdated and inadequate. The assessment of which species should be covered on a positive list would include
- Animal welfare criteria;
- Degree of domestication;
- Adaptation to human contact/proximity;
- Risk of zoonotic disease;
- Risk of injury to humans; and
- Conservation aspects (e.g. risk of capture and depletion of wild populations).
There could be an initial list for mammals, followed by lists for reptiles and birds. Consideration would need to be given as to whether existing companion animals of other species would be registered and allowed to remain with their keeper whilst still alive, or confiscated (which may give rise to logistical and ethical issues).
Considerations in this regard are that wild or exotic animals, such as primates, reptiles, ornamental fish and wild birds are not suited to life in captivity. It is impossible to recreate the environment and climate to meet their needs in captivity. Also, most individuals have neither the finances nor the experience to care for them properly (and it has been estimated that 90% are dead within the first two years of captivity). Many wild animals forced into a domestic situation cause injury to humans, especially children. Others, if released into the environment, can cause irreversible and costly damage to the ecosystem.
Section 22 (10): These provisions could cover all areas of companion animal ownership and stray management. These would incorporate restrictions or detailed provisions, and guidelines for the prevention of companion animal problems, population control and stray dog management including
- The introduction of requirements for the enclosure of dogs and other companion animals, and leash laws for animals taken outside the home, in cases where there are animal welfare, health or safety concerns, such as in busy urban areas.
- The introduction of control measures for any dogs which may be dangerous to people or other animals. These shall not be breed-specific, and shall not be detrimental to animal welfare.
- The introduction of environmental controls to restrict available food sources (a recognised component of stray management). In particular, food sources which attract and maintain strays which can be found around abattoirs, rubbish dumps, dead stock facilities, restaurant and hotel yards etc.
- The allocation of duties and responsibilities to local authorities, including the establishment of a network of facilities for housing and re-homing stray companion animals, and the development of constructive working relations with animal welfare organisations.
- Detailed provisions on population control measures, including the aspects discussed in the notes in Section 22 (6) above.
To elaborate some of the above mentioned aspects in more detail:
There may for instance be a need for provisions concerning the enclosure of dogs and other companion animals within the home boundary in busy urban areas (where animals could be in danger if they stray and/or cause road traffic accidents). There may also be a need to introduce local leash laws, for similar reasons. However, the requirements of Section 12 (4) would also need to be taken into account in any such provisions.
The introduction of control measures for any dogs which may be dangerous to humans or other animals shall not be breed-specific, and should be carefully designed to ensure that such provisions are not more stringent than necessary, or detrimental to animal welfare. For example, legislation could make owners responsible for ensuring that any dogs which exhibit aggressive or potentially dangerous behaviour under any circumstances (however extreme) should be securely kept in the home enclosure and/or be muzzled at all times in public places. There could also be compulsory neutering, and a prohibition against breeding, for any dogs which have aggressive or potentially dangerous traits.
Breed-specific dog bans are to be avoided. For example, a country may not ban all pit bull terriers wholesale. There are several reasons for this: there is no hard and fast rule governing which breeds of dogs are dangerous and which are not; such a rule would make owning these dogs more palatable to people who should not own them, simply because they are forbidden; the rule would simply lead to the indoctrination of another breed as the ‘rebellious’ type of dog to own; and this rule would lead to the euthanasia of many dogs based solely on breed, and not on temperament.
Section 23 (1): The Competent Authority should publish minimum standards as guidelines to producers, importers and users of housing systems. Without such guidance, these businesses will find it difficult to assess potential compliance. However, as these standards only represent a bare minimum, and are likely to be improved and updated over time, businesses should be advised not to take these minimum standards as acceptable norms, but to produce, import and use higher-welfare systems.
Section 23 (3): The cost of this authorisation procedure shall be borne by the applicant. Housing systems and installations shall only be approved/licensed by the Competent Authority if all stipulated requirements are adhered to, and it can be demonstrated that such a system or installation will meet the welfare requirements of the animals. A condition to include CCTV in modern intensive systems is included to ensure that management and enforcement officers can effectively monitor and inspect the animals therein: The costs for this would be a small proportion of the overall cost of the system, and be far outweighed by the potential benefits.
Section 23 (4): There must be provision for an authorisation/license to be retroactively revoked if any of the particulars furnished in the application are subsequently found to be false; or if welfare problems become apparent in the ensuing use that could not be overcome by adjustments or alterations. In cases where scientific advances later prove that licensed systems are detrimentally impacting animal welfare, then it may be necessary to either compensate the business involved, or to permit a phase-in period for adjustments or system replacement.
Section 23 (6): In some very extensive systems it may not be feasible for animals to be inspected more frequently than once each day. However, in other cases it may be indicated to inspect more than once per day. In cases where more frequent inspections are required, these should be stipulated in regulations [and, as appropriate, ‘Welfare Codes’, standards and guidance].
Section 23 (8): This provision is considered desirable, based on the potential for animal suffering in cases of non-compliance. However, the feasibility of this will depend on the capacity of the veterinary services/competent authority.
Section 23 (9): It is important that any systems which are known to be inherently bad for animal welfare are listed and prohibited accordingly. In such cases, rules concerning the design, operation and use of alternative production systems should also be detailed. However, it may prove necessary to introduce phase-out periods in cases where significant investment and work is needed to change to more welfare-friendly systems. In all cases, phase-in periods should be kept to a minimum, and not subsequently extended, as animal welfare is compromised in the interim.
Section 23 (10): Prohibitions could be considered for (but not limited to) farming for fur, feathers, down and gourmet foods meeting these criteria.
Section 23 (11): Individual countries may have other farming practices which are detrimental to animal welfare and thus need to be prohibited in addition. In cases where the practices indicated are not currently used in a particular country, then it is recommended to introduce an immediate ban to prevent their introduction. This is necessary because these practices are increasingly being introduced and extended to countries where they are not traditionally used. Forced molting is a practice used by the commercial egg industry to induce a flock of hens to molt simultaneously, usually by withdrawing food (in order to prolong or spur egg laying).
Cases where calves have not been provided with a specified minimum daily ration of fibrous food have been used in veal production (particularly for the production of white veal), thus the need for a requirement for them to be fed fibre ‘in sufficient quantity’ for health, growth and vigour.
Section 23 (12): As with companion animals ( Section 22 (8)), the approach of producing a positive list of species that may be kept for farming purposes is preferred to the prohibition of certain species. Such a list automatically prohibits all others, and thus is less likely to become outdated and inadequate. The assessment of which species should be included on a positive list would include
- Animal welfare criteria;
- Degree of domestication;
- Adaptation to human contact/proximity;
- Risk of zoonotic disease;
- Risk of injury to humans; and
- Conservation aspects (e.g. risk of capture and depletion of wild populations).
Particular consideration should be given to the introduction of non-domesticated species for farming purposes. The general rule should be that in any cases of doubt animal species should be excluded from the list of species that are permitted to be kept for farming purposes. Particular concerns are when animals cannot be handled and provided with the necessary care and veterinary attention; cannot be consistently killed humanely; where captivity causes stress and/or disruption of usual social interactions and species-specific behaviours; when captivity may adversely impact upon wild populations or ecosystems; or where they may be a health or safety risk to humans or other animals.
Section 23 (13): These would cover all aspects of the welfare of animals kept for farming purposes, and would incorporate restrictions, prohibitions, and detailed provisions and guidelines for the welfare of animals, including fish and birds, kept for farming purposes.
Farmed fish are often forgotten, but their welfare equally needs to be safeguarded. In particular, fish should not be confined in a way that exposes them to suffering. Factors such as stocking density, water quality and direction of flow should be regulated to protect the welfare of individual fish. The handling, transport and killing of farmed fish should comply with general humane principles. It should be prohibited for fish farms to allow anglers into farms to play the fish and then throw them back. It should also be prohibited to hang living fish up (e.g. from a stick, rope, angle etc. that has been threaded through the fish body) or to keep living fish out of water for periods that would compromise their welfare (e.g. prior to killing).
The subject of animal experimentation and of tests on live animals is a very sensitive and complex issue; and one which requires a variety of perspectives to be considered – ranging from scientific to ethical; and often involving a balance between competing interests. It is never easy to balance the animal’s need for protection and safeguarding from pain, suffering and distress on the one hand, and humankind’s perception of animal experiments being necessary for progress in certain fields of research on the other. However, there are now agreed international principles governing animal experimentation, including an OIE international standard on ‘The Use of Animals in Research and Education’. There is also a growing consensus that it is not just or ethical to use animals for purposes which are not vitally important to humans, animals or the environment.
In this Act, preference has been given to the inclusion of some of the most important fundamental provisions into the Animal Welfare Act itself, together with a controlling framework based on best practice. This will enable the Competent Authority to control and monitor animal experimentation, and the breeding of animals for experimentation, on its territory, whilst preparing to introduce detailed regulations [supplemented as necessary by ‘Welfare Codes’, standards and guidance].
Far more detailed requirements will need to be elaborated in supporting regulations [and, as appropriate, ‘Welfare Codes’, standards and guidance]. There is much useful information in the OIE’s International Standard. There are also many detailed regulations from other countries and the EU that could serve as guidance in this regard. However, these will need to be relevant to the country and its own situation.
In some countries, animal experimentation is not seen to be a pressing animal welfare concern, simply because it is not widely practiced. However, experience has shown that animal experimentation can move from highly regulated environments towards non-regulated or lower-regulated, low-cost countries. Thus, it is vital to establish these controls before there has been industry development (possibly with investment in facilities, installations and systems which are detrimental to animal welfare).
Prominence has been given to the internationally accepted 3Rs (see Section 24 (5) as well as Section 6 (3) 2.). However, these need to be applied stringently and systematically in order to be effective. In particular, there is a hierarchy of application, whereby replacement should be the aim; followed by reduction where this has not been considered feasible; and refinement always applied to any animal experiments (refinement having a multi-faceted approach designed to minimise impacts on animal welfare).
The 3Rs principle should also be fully taken into account in the authorisation and ethical review processes for animal experiments. In particular, no authorisation should be given where alternative methods are available or where the use in question cannot be fully justified. The use of alternatives and prohibitions in other countries should be studied and taken into account before a decision is taken, and every effort made to ensure the early national adoption of all alternatives to prevent unnecessary animal use. (For example, the use of animals for medical training: As, for instance, trauma training which is not considered necessary or ethical, as human-based model simulators can be used (and are in some countries).
Section 24 (3): The Competent Authority should consider requiring the application to be accompanied by a redacted copy for publication by the Competent Authority, identical in content except for the elimination of personal information, locations or commercially confidential information. This approach facilitates publication of experiment licences after the usual Freedom of Information measures (whilst protecting individual and organisational identities and commercially sensitive information).
Section 24 (18): This provision would cover educational uses such as the keeping of animals as school ‘pets’, and the use of animals for school demonstrations and educational visits. Whilst such uses are well-meaning, they might have a poor educational impact, whilst compromising the animals’ welfare. There are particular problems during school holidays, when classroom ‘pets’ are taken home by pupils (who can quickly lose interest), and their welfare can no longer be overseen by staff.
Section 24 (19): The detailed rules and regulations governing animal experimentation. These shall include, but not be restricted to
- Conditions, requirements and procedures for the authorisation of animal experiments and granting of personal and project licenses; the licensing of breeding centres for experimental animals; and the licensing of premises where animal experimentation may be conducted. A licensing system has been used as this is common for controlling animal experimentation, but it is possible to amend this to another form of authorisation, such as certification or registration, if this is appropriate to the system prevailing in the jurisdiction.
- Detailed requirements for the ethical and scientific review of animal experiments before authorisation is granted. Ethical and scientific review shall be carried out locally (at the authorised premises) before an application for authorisation is submitted, and include: analysis of the need for the experiment, its scientific premise and soundness, ethical aspects, animal welfare impact, and whether it could entail duplication. After submission, it shall be thoroughly examined by the Animal Experimentation Sub-Committee referred to in Article 35 (4), which may call upon additional expertise and advice as necessary.
- Minimum standards for the premises where animal experiments may be conducted, including: animal facilities and accommodation; installations; equipment; inspection systems; and other systems used in carrying out experiments on animals.
- Minimum standards for facilities where experimental animals may be bred, including: animal facilities and accommodation; installations; equipment; and inspection systems.
- Detailed requirements for the accommodation, care and supervision of animals bred or used for experimentation, including: animal welfare and veterinary care (including pain management; anaesthesia and analgesia; and humane endpoints); housing; environmental enrichment; exercise and social interaction.
- Detailed requirements on qualifications, training and responsibilities for the named person responsible for experiments; the veterinary supervisor; and any other roles relating to the care and supervision of animals bred or used for experimentation.
In addition to those rules and regulations regarding animal experimentation itself, further provisions should be implemented to prohibit the funding and/or commissioning of research to be carried out in other countries where it would be prohibited by this Act.
Historically, legal regimes dealing with wildlife have been associated with particular socio-economic structures (particularly land-owning classes seeking to create and protect rights over the wildlife present on their land). Wildlife was treated by the law as an economic or leisure resource, or as something to be controlled, rather than something worthy of protection in its own right. Animal welfare was hardly a consideration in these times, and most protective provisions were designed to protect endangered species – although there were some minor provisions aimed at curtailing the worst excesses of cruelty (for example, provisions such as a requirement to kill severely injured animals; and prohibitions such as shooting an animal from an aircraft, vehicle or mechanically propelled craft).
The utilitarian status of wildlife within the legislative regime began to change towards the latter half of the nineteenth century. However, wildlife welfare still needs to be given greater consideration; particularly to take better account of the sentiency of wildlife and the responsibilities of humans to captive wildlife.
It is important that legislation protecting the welfare of wild animals reflects and is consistent with general animal welfare principles. However, the special circumstances pertaining to wildlife (both in nature and in captivity) will naturally need to be considered, and the optimum approach taken for their welfare. Thus, this Act has focused on the approach that wild animals living in the wild with no ‘owner’ should be guaranteed a life as undisturbed as possible in their natural habitat, with optimal freedom. A similar principle should ideally be applied also to wild animals in protected areas.
As stated in the preamble to the Bern Convention (Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats): ”Wild flora and fauna constitute a natural heritage of aesthetic, scientific, cultural, recreational, economic and intrinsic value that needs to be preserved and handed on to future generations.” Wildlife is part of a valuable biodiversity and natural heritage which needs to be protected. Wild animals are also fellow sentient animals. Thus, there is a human obligation to ensure that they do not suffer or perish at the hands of humans (or through human activity).
However, there is now very little wilderness area left, so the creation and development of protected areas is encouraged.
Nevertheless, some countries do still permit hunting in nature and/or in protected areas. If this is the case, then additional controls will be needed to protect the welfare of the animals (as well as the usual conservation controls, which are designed to protect species and numbers of animals, rather than the welfare of individual animals). These would include aspects such as: prohibition on hunting during mating and breeding and rearing seasons (not just for reasons of stock replenishment, but also for welfare reasons such as social hierarchies, family units, care of young wildlife etc.). The provisions on hunting proficiency certificates and prohibition of cruel killing methods are included as additional welfare safeguards.
Section 25 (1) and (2): Human activities, development and expansion are affecting wildlife habitats (their climate) and their welfare – and these side-effects of human activity are frequently not recognised until it is too late for the animals. Thus a system of animal welfare impact assessment is recommended (as is already used for environmental impacts, and for animal welfare in the EU) to forewarn and permit preventative action. Habitat encroachment can include wildlife corridors, buffer zones and migratory routes. Human activities can include use of chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides, which can impact wildlife adversely.
Each country should determine its own minimum standards for these animal welfare impact assessments, using available ‘best practice’. Capacity building will be needed to ensure that these assessments are carried out effectively and in regular intervals; and wildlife rangers will need to be trained in animal welfare to ensure that they can guard against animal welfare infringements in the wild or protected areas.
Section 25 (4): As regards population control measures, non-lethal measures such as fertility control are continually being developed and refined. These should always be used where feasible, as opposed to lethal control measures.
Section 25 (7): Legal provisions may ban the keeping of some species of animals (negative or black list) or only allow some species to be kept (positive or white list). As this is a model law, a positive list system has been adopted. Whilst the negative list is the most commonly used system to regulate the keeping of wild animals, the use of positive lists is gaining support, as this is the most precautionary approach. On a negative list system, the default is that any animal not on a negative list is allowed to be kept, requiring the list to be quite long to ensure that animals with welfare, health, invasive or conservation risks are not kept. In addition it might not be adequate to address emerging trends and threats from the keeping of new exotic animals. Indeed, the process to add new species to the list is often slow and burdensome and the content of the list will thus lag behind the latest trends in the trade and keeping of exotic animals.
The objectively assessed criteria for listing or de-listing should include
- Animal welfare,
- Risk of zoonotic disease,
- Risk of injury to humans, and
- Pet exaptation (the ability to live in close proximity to humans).
A review of the positive list is intended to remove any species from the list where scientific advances or practical experience has shown that these cannot be kept without welfare problems. Great caution should be exercised in adding any species to this white list that have not previously been kept in captivity. This should only be done in case of a proven need, i.e. in cases where it is considered necessary for animal/human survival and where it can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the welfare needs of the animals can indeed be met in captivity.
Keeping can also require authorisation in the form of a license.
Section 25 (8) and (9): A system of licensing has been suggested for hunting premises. However, it is possible to amend this to another form of authorisation (e.g. registration or certification), if appropriate to the system of the jurisdiction.
Section 25 (8) & (15): In no case should authorisation be given to any ‘canned hunting’ operations, as these are considered both unethical and detrimental to animal welfare. Ideally, all forms of non-conservation culling/hunting should be prohibited.
Section 25 (9): It is considered prudent to deny hunting licenses to individuals who are likely to pose a risk to animal welfare (for example, through demonstrated lack of concern for the welfare of animals, or general tendencies towards violent or aggressive behaviour). However, this has been restricted to any person who has been convicted (for violating any animal protection provision, or for any act of violence or aggression against humans) in order to ensure that there is proof in terms of prior conviction. Countries may also decide to introduce administrative measures to protect against potential human rights violations, by giving an individual the opportunity to prove that he or she is entitled and deserving of a certificate despite any prior conviction. If this approach is adopted, such procedures will need to be carried out vigilantly to prevent any potential risks to animal welfare.
Section 25 (10), (11) and (12): Hunting using inhumane methods should not be permitted. Every country will need to consider the methods which are currently being used, and introduce specific bans on any which are found to be inhumane (or, using the precautionary principle, where any doubt remains as to whether they are humane).
Section 25 (12): Certain methods known to be inhumane are prohibited from the outset. In other cases, the Animal Welfare Committee shall review methods of capture, entrapment and killing of animal, following which they will present a list of prohibited methods. In these cases, there will be a ban not only on their use, but also on the sale, offering for sale, advertising, import and export of unauthorised catching, trapping or killing devices and poisons.
Section 25 (15): A ban on such uses is strongly recommended because they cannot justify the inevitable welfare compromises. Should governments take a decision to permit any of these uses, then they should establish a system of licensing, with effective enforcement and monitoring, in order to regularly review and re-evaluate such uses.
Section 25 (16): Where wild animals are causing problems for local communities (e.g. those living adjacent to nature or protected areas), work should first be carried out together with local communities to try to mediate a solution – including education and awareness, and the development of targeted compensation schemes. There are also other cases, which involve wild animals moving into human domain, but which are commonly dealt with through ‘pest control’ measures (sometimes home solutions, and sometimes through ‘pest control’ professionals). We do not consider the term ‘pest control’ to be an appropriate or desirable descriptor, as it is often human activities that are problematic, as opposed to the animals. However, as this is common terminology, we have used it for avoidance of doubt, but placed it in quotation marks. We also consider that animal welfare principles should be applied consistently, regardless of whether such animals are considered a nuisance from a human perspective.
A system of licensing has been suggested for ‘pest control’ businesses. However, it is possible to amend this to another form of authorisation (e.g. registration or certification), if appropriate to the system of the jurisdiction.
Section 25 (17): It should be noted that Education and Entertainment are not considered proven benefits for the purpose of this Act.
Section 25 (19): The conservation value of many zoological gardens (zoos and aquaria) is now being questioned, as the most valuable conservation programmes are carried out in situ. Breeding programmes only contribute to conservation efforts if the animals bred can be successfully reintroduced into sustainable natural wildlife habitats. The educational value of many zoos has also been questioned, as education based on captive wild animals which cannot live their lives free from human interference and compromised welfare is not considered positive. The welfare of many animals in zoos and aquaria is impaired due to factors such as: unsuitable enclosures, management practices, and social groupings. Therefore, great care and consideration should be given to the authorisation of any new zoos/aquaria. Where a decision is taken not to authorise an existing zoo, or to rescind the authorisation for an existing zoo/aquaria, then a period of grace may need to be given in order to rehome the remaining animals or to upgrade their facilities and care. Every effort should be made to ensure that displaced animals are humanely rehomed.
Section 25 (23): These could include any measures in the context of wildlife and zoos/aquaria, and include aspects such as
- Establishing the system and requirements for animal welfare impact assessments;
- The prerequisites and minimum requirements for the keeping of wild animals in captivity, taking into consideration both the objectives and other provisions of the subject Act, as well as the recognised state of scientific knowledge;
- Rules and conditions covering the keeping of wild animals in captivity;
- Special conditions and requirements for the application for, and issue of, hunting licenses;
- Special conditions and requirements for the application for, and issue of, hunting proficiency certificates and advanced hunting proficiency certificates; including eligibility criteria;
- Conditions and requirements concerning the advertising, naming and branding of any premises and businesses keeping wild animals to ensure that customers, tourists and the public are not misled about the nature of the business or their credentials;
- Requirements for record keeping and powers of entry and access to records;
- Prohibitions, limitations and controls on the trade in wild animals and their body parts or derived products; including prohibitions on the export of live wild animals for purposes other than over-riding animal welfare reasons; and
- Deterring and punishing such offences such as illegal hunting, illegal trafficking, illegal trade, illegal possession, illegal processing and illegal consumption. In particular, specific provisions against reckless commission, to ensure that particular problems are identified and individuals made aware of the possibility of potential adverse consequences arising from their actions.
As regards ‘reckless commission’, requisite measures may include prohibiting
- All forms of deliberate capture or killing of wild animals (or specified species of wild animals) in the wild or protected areas;
- Deliberate disturbance of these species, particularly during the period of breeding, rearing, hibernation and migration;
- Deliberate destruction or taking of eggs from the wild; and
- Deterioration or destruction of breeding sites or resting places.
However, there will likely be other cases of ‘reckless commission’ in each country, which necessitate specific mention.
Wildlife conservation and hunting laws will need to be reviewed to ensure consistency with the agreed animal welfare principles.
In addition, it is important that a country makes use of ancillary legislation dealing with finance, money laundering and tax, to deter/punish those who attempt to benefit from the proceeds of wildlife crime.
It will be a requirement for a business using animals for working purposes to obtain authorisation in accordance with Section 16 and Section 29 of the Act. However, some jurisdictions may wish to impose a ‘de minimus’ on this provision (for example, restricting it to a minimum number of animals used), in order to make it less burdensome administratively and exempt individuals using their animal for subsistence income generation from the need to obtain authorisation. This would in no way exempt such animal users from compliance with the provisions of this Act.
Section 26 (4): Adequate shade or shelter will depend on the climate and any available natural shade and shelter. In warm weather, measures to prevent heat stress would include: shady resting places, free access to drinking water, pouring water over animals (where appropriate), less work and more frequent resting periods. Where the weather is such that animals cannot be worked without discomfort or welfare problems, then they should not be worked at such times or under those specific conditions. Heat stress could be defined or cross-referenced with the OIE Chapter on Working Equids.
These provisions should be considered in terms of the fact that the use of animals for sports, leisure and entertainment can create significant human and animal welfare problems; as well as conservation problems in the case of wild animals. There can also be significant public safety issues surrounding the use of wild animals (including to animal trainers, children, and the public at large). The industry covers an enormous range of uses of animals and is probably also the least ‘justifiable’ form of animal use. These also have a negative educational impact on children, as regards respect and protection of sentient beings. Thus there are serious ethical and welfare considerations in this category of animal use.
This category of animal use also incorporates welfare considerations in respect of training (Section 21); keeping (Sections 12 and 13); disposal of animals when they are no longer able to perform (Sections 9, 10 and 20); and – in the case of itinerant sports, leisure or entertainments – transport (Section 19). As regards training, the techniques, devices, or agents used to make the animals perform are many times abusive, cruel, or stressful; causing suffering to the animals and creating a greater threat to the public.
Many of the associated welfare problems are not evident in the performance/event itself, which is the reason why welfare monitoring is suggested (for example, the disposal of animals no longer able to perform has been found to be a significant problem).
Section 27 (1) and (2): Careful consideration should be given to how best to enact this (and subsequent) provisions. Much will depend on the existing situation in the country, necessitating research and analysis. For example, some countries have a strong culture of animal use in entertainment, whereas others (particularly countries with their own wildlife populations in the wild, or nature reserves) have not taken this route. In general, the precautionary principle is advised, with uses being prohibited where it cannot be proven that the welfare needs of the animals can be secured – particularly given the fact that this use is not for purposes more essential than human entertainment.
Section 27 (3): The use of wild animals in such businesses involves significant welfare and conservation problems (for example, itinerant circuses cannot provide for the physiological and behavioural needs of wild animals, and have been involved in wildlife trade infringements). Many forward-looking countries thus prohibit the use of wild animals in this way. [For example, bans and phasing out of circuses and dolphinaria are increasingly common.] Others prohibit the introduction of any new businesses, and closely regulate and monitor existing ones.
Section 27 (7): A prohibition against bullfights and rodeos is recommended even in cases where such events do not take place in a country – as problems have occurred when promoters try to stage such events in different countries, and countries find they do not have the legislative backing required to prevent this from happening.
Section 27 (8): There are various systems and guidelines covering the use of animals in filming.
Section 27 (10): This provision will enable prohibitions or regulations to be extended in the event of new evidence or societal/ethical considerations. In some cases, new forms of animal entertainment may be devised, which would best be prohibited before they can gain popularity. Even some common uses of animals for sports, leisure and entertainment can be found to cause unacceptable welfare problems (for example, certain horse races – such as ‘steeplechases’ – where jumps are raised to a level that causes falls, injuries and deaths). In some countries, dog racing is prohibited, due to ethical/societal concerns as well as welfare problems.
Section 27 (11): These could include any prohibitions, restrictions or detailed provisions and guidelines in the context of animals used for sports, leisure and entertainment, including
- The prerequisites and minimum requirements for the use of animals in sports, leisure and entertainment, taking into consideration both the objectives and other provisions of the subject Act, as well as the recognised state of scientific knowledge;
- Rules and conditions covering the use of animals for film, still photographs, video or television productions;
- Special conditions and requirements for the authorisation of persons or businesses using animals for sports, leisure or entertainment;
- Conditions and requirements concerning the advertising, naming and branding of such persons or businesses to ensure consumers are not misled about the nature of their business or their credentials; and
- Requirements for record keeping and powers of entry.
As regards the advertising, naming and branding of such persons or businesses, some mislead consumers – for example, in the case of tourist wildlife menageries masquerading as ‘sanctuaries’ or ‘zoos’/aquaria, when they have no genuine rescue or conservation programmes. Facilities which breed wild animals simply to attract visitors (for example, permitting close contact, ‘petting’ and stroking) can be unscrupulous in disposing of unwanted animals when they grow – and misinformed visitors think they are witnessing a conservation breeding programme.
Where itinerant acts are permitted, a notification system similar to that for animal transport should be considered, to enable unannounced spot-check inspections to be carried out. This would need to include a journey and exhibition/performance timetable, with detailed travel plans and venues, as well as details of the animals to be transported and the arrangement made for their care and welfare.