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Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Section 4 – Unnecessary suffering

This section sets out the circumstances in which a person who causes or permits an animal to suffer commits an offence. It will be an offence to cause physical or mental suffering, whether by a positive act or an omission, to an animal. This section also sets out considerations in determining whether the suffering is unnecessary. Considerations focus on the necessity, proportionality, humanity and competence of the conduct. Where suffering inevitably occurs in the course of complying with any regulations, licence or code of practice, an offence would not normally be committed as it would be for the overall betterment of the animal’s welfare.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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