Tag Archive for 'Pets'

Protecting The Animals You Love With Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Month

Across the UK it is estimated that 44% of households own some sort of pet, whether that be a dog, cat or something else. Unfortunately, it’s also estimated that around 1 million reports of animal abuse are recorded a year. That number should be zero.

Recent legislation has much improved protection for animals, but there is still much to be done. 

What’s Been Done So Far? 

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is the latest animal welfare legislation in England and Wales. It superseded and consolidated more than 20 other pieces of legislation, such as the Protection of Animals Act 1934 and the Abandonment of Animals Act 1960. Prior to this Act, animal welfare law was largely reactive and action could only be taken once an animal had suffered unnecessarily.

The 2006 Act introduced the important concept of a duty of care that animal owners have, whether those animals are pets or commercial animals, to ensure they care for their animals properly. In practical terms this means that an owner must ensure that an animal has:

  • A suitable environment
  • A suitable diet
  • Is able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • Is housed with, or apart, from other animals, as the particular animal’s needs dictate.
  • Is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

The penalties for breaking this act originally included being banned from owning pets in the future, facing a fine or a sentence of a maximum of 6 months in prison. Many critics of the law argued these penalties were not enough and, after campaigning by organisations such as the RSPCA, the law had was amended in 2021 so that those guilty of the worse offences could face an unlimited fine or a maximum of 5 years imprisonment.  

Other regulations have been put onto the stature books since the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, including the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 which set minimum welfare standards for farm animals generally, but many would argue that this is still not enough. 

There’s More to Be Done 

Animal rights in the UK have advanced in recent years, but with that estimated one million reports of animal abuse a year, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month is an opportunity to educate ourselves and others as to what we can do to help our furry companions. 

Fox Hunting 

Whilst Fox hunting is illegal in England, Scotland and Wales, it isn’t illegal in Northern Ireland meaning many foxes are still ripped apart by dogs as a sport in this part of the UK. In fact it is estimated that around 400,000 foxes are killed a year across the UK as a whole, as shooting foxes as a pest is still legal.  

Despite the ban on hunting in England, Scotland and Wales, there has been an increase in membership of the Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) which currently represents 176 active foxhound packs in England and Wales and 10 in Scotland.  Illegal hunt still continue and there are many loopholes in the law that allow the killing of foxes by hunting packs. The legislation needs to be strengthened and properly enforced to stop this barbaric an cruel ‘sport’.


Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with breeding pets such as dogs, the over breeding of pedigree animals can cause long term health issues and the main priority should be animals health and wellbeing rather than achieving a perfect look.  

Pugs, for example, have for years been bred to achieve flatter features, but as a consequence many individuals of the breed have issues with breathing. This affects their ability to exercise, causing knock-on effects to their health as a whole.  

What Can We do? 

Participate in Prevention to Animal Cruelty Month by: 

  • Signing petitions, whether it be to create further protections for animals or to bring in new legisalation where the law is still lacking. Write to your MP. If enough of us act, it could make a difference. 
  • Consider adopting your next pet from a shelter rather than a breeder. Perhaps you could take in an animal that has had bad treatment previously and help change an animal’s life by letting them live in a loving home. 
  • If you are going to get a pet from a breeder, try and find an one that is ethical and that prioritises the health of animals over making money. The RSPCA have a list of guidelines to help you find an ethical breeder. 
  • If you can’t adopt a new pet, perhaps you could donate some time or money to a local animal shelter, to help with to give unfortunate animals a second chance. Every little will help. 
  • We can also make small changes in the way we shop, by buying free range eggs, milk and other dairy products, and by trying to ensure that the food we buy is ethically sourced. Giving producers a financial incentive to treat animals ethically can only be a win-win.


Animals provide us with so much love, companionship and loyalty and make the world such a better place. They deserve a little bit of effort from us to help make their lives better.