Registered Charity No. 1157841

British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

Animal Welfare Act 2006


The Animal Welfare Act does not cover wild animals living in the wild, but under Section 2 of the Act, any animal that is under the temporary control of man, is a protected animal:


      Animal Welfare Act, 2006, Section 2, “Protected Animal”


      An animal is a “protected animal” for the purposes of this Act if -


      (a) it is of a kind which is commonly domesticated in the British Islands,


      (b) it is under the control of man whether on a permanent or temporary basis, or


      (c) it is not living in a wild state.


Therefore, any wild animal taken in for the purposes of rehabilitation becomes a protected animal, and as such, deserves a duty of care as defined in Section 9 of the Act. This duty of care defines an animal’s needs as:


      • its need for a suitable environment

      • its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns

      • any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals

      • its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

      • any other need of that animal  


More details of how this legislation affects wildlife rehabilitators can be found in a booklet produced by the RSPCA, which is available to download from their website: