What does the law say about animal rights?

Changes in UK law relating to animal rightsRSPCA 2011; BBC, 2012

There are a number of laws in the UK, designed to protect animals from cruelty.

These laws make it an offence to:

  • neglect or ill-treat an animal, including when being transported or slaughtered
  • keep some animals without a special licence, eg those which are dangerous or a rare breed
  • stage the fighting of animals, such as dog or cock fighting, to bet on the outcome of such a fight or to be present at a fight
  • use animals in the research and development of cosmetics

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 sets out laws relating to animals and their treatment and covers a wide range of activities. It is a criminal offence to neglect an animal or treat it in a cruel way. People may be sent to prison or fined for mistreating animals.