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Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Promotion of Welfare

Section 9 – Ensuring welfare of animals

The welfare offence in this section extends to non-farmed animals. A duty to ensure welfare will apply to all animals for which someone is responsible as defined in section 3. A person who is responsible for an animal has a duty to take steps that are reasonable to ensure its needs are met to the extent required by good practice.

Section 10 - Improvement notices

This section empowers inspectors to issue improvement notices to those responsible for animals if the inspector is of the opinion that a person is not meeting the requirements of section 9. The inspector must state in the notice what the person is failing to do to comply with section 9, the steps that should be taken in order to comply and the time in which the steps must be taken. Failure to comply with an improvement notice is an offence.

Section 11 - Regulations for securing welfare of animals

This section enables the Department to make regulations to secure the welfare of animals for which a person is responsible, or the progeny of such animals. The inclusion of the progeny of animals in this regulation making power enables regulations to be introduced governing animal breeding that protect the offspring as well as the parent animal.

Section 12 - Licensing or registration of activities involving animals

This section enables the Department to make regulations for the introduction of licensing and registration regimes in relation to activities involving animals for which a person is responsible for the purposes of securing the welfare of animals or the progeny of those animals.

Section 13 - Prohibition on keeping of certain animals

This section enables the Department to make regulations for securing animal welfare by prohibiting the keeping of certain types of animals at domestic or other premises. This power does not extend to zoos licensed or regulated by the Department of the Environment or animals licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 2004.

Section 14 – Abandonment

This section makes it an offence to abandon an animal irrespective of whether the animal suffers or not.

Section 15 – Transfer of animals by way of sale or prize to persons under 16

This section prohibits the sale of animals to any person under 16. The section also makes it an offence to enter into an arrangement with a person under 16 whereby an animal is to be won as a prize, unless the person under 16 is under the care and control of an adult who has agreed to the arrangement.

Section 16 - Codes of practice

Codes of practice are already widely used to promote the welfare of farmed animals and the Act provides for the introduction of codes of practice for both farmed animals and other animals.

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Explanatory Notes

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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