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Animal Health Act 2002

Part 3: Enforcement

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26.Section 7 makes provision for powers of entry to carry out vaccination. Subsection (4) adds 15 new subsections to section 16 of the 1981 Act. If there are reasonable grounds and either of the two further conditions in new subsections (6) or (7) are satisfied, a justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorising an inspector to enter land or premises, if necessary using reasonable force, for the purpose of the power to vaccinate. New subsections (9) to (13) contain provisions where inspectors enter land or premises under powers to vaccinate or a warrant.

27.Section 8 inserts a new section 62A into the 1981 Act to provide a power of entry for the purpose of ascertaining whether any power to cause animals to be slaughtered should be exercised and for the purpose of doing anything in pursuance of the exercise of that power.

28.It also inserts new sections 62B and 62C. New section 62B makes provision for issuing of warrants. These apply if there are reasonable grounds and if either of the two further conditions in subsection (4) or (5) are satisfied. Where they are, a justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorising an inspector to enter premises, if necessary using reasonable force, for the purpose of ascertaining whether any power to cause animals to be slaughtered should be exercised and doing anything in pursuance of the exercise of that power. New section 62C contains provisions where inspectors enter premises under the powers in section 62A(1) or section 62B.

29.Finally, it inserts a new section 66A which makes provision about refusal and obstruction.

30.Section 9 inserts new section 62D into the 1981 Act to provide powers of entry for the purpose of ascertaining whether animals are carrying antibodies, are infected with disease, or whether any causative agent of disease is present. Subsection (2) provides for this power to be extended to diseases other than FMD as the Secretary of State may specify by order.

31.It also inserts new sections 62E and 62F. New section 62E makes provision for issuing of warrants. These apply if there are reasonable grounds and if either of the two further conditions in subsection (4) or (5) are satisfied. Where they are, a justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorising an inspector to enter premises, if necessary using reasonable force, for the purpose of ascertaining whether animals are carrying antibodies to FMD, are infected with FMD or the causative agent of disease is present. New section 62F contains provisions where inspectors enter premises under the powers in section 62D or 62E.

32.Section 10 creates a new power for inspectors to inspect vehicles to check compliance with disease control measures by inserting a new section 65A into the 1981 Act. It will be possible to exercise this power only in areas and periods designated in an order and the inspector must be accompanied by a uniformed police officer.

33.Section 11 clarifies the powers under the Animal Health Act 1981 to arrest for obstruction. It makes clear that police officers and Departmental inspectors may arrest anyone who prevents them from carrying out their functions under the Act.

Offences

34.Subsection (1) of Section 12 inserts new sections 28A and 28B into the 1981 Act. Section 28A creates a new offence of deliberately infecting an animal with certain diseases or intending to do so and sets the penalties. The penalty on conviction by a Magistrates’ Court could be up to 6 months’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to the statutory maximum (currently £5,000) and the penalty on conviction by a Crown Court could be up to 2 years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. Section 28B gives the court power to disqualify a person convicted with the offence from keeping or dealing in animals for such period as it sees fit. After one year (and each subsequent period of one year) the person may apply to have the disqualification lifted or its duration reduced. The diseases to which this new offence applies are listed in new Schedule 2A to the 1981 Act, inserted by subsection (2) of clause 12.

35.Section 13 substitutes a new section 75 in the 1981 Act which standardises the maximum penalties for offences against the Act for which no penalty is specified to a new maximum of a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000) and/or 6 months’ imprisonment.

36.Section 14 inserts a new section 71A which extends the time limit within which prosecutions for offences under the 1981 Act can be brought. It enables prosecutions to be brought within six months of the date on which evidence of the offence is discovered, provided this is within three years of the date on which the offence was committed.

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