Wild Mammals Protection Act 1996
This Act makes it an offence to use a variety of methods to intentionally cause suffering to a wild mammal. It also has exemptions, related to euthanasia: Wild Mammals Protection Act, 1996, Section 2, Exceptions from offence under the Act:
2. A person shall not be guilty of an offence under this Act by reason of—
(a) the attempted killing of any such wild mammal as an act of mercy if he shows that the mammalhad been so seriously disabled otherwise than by his unlawful act that there was no reasonable chance of its recovering;
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:
The Welfare of Animals During Transport Order 2006
The 2006 Order must be read along with Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 http://europa.eu.int/eurlex/lex/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2005/l_003/l_00320050105en00010044.pdf
Section 4 of the Welfare of Animals During Transport Order 2006 protects for all animals in transport, including invertebrates. All other sections of this Order refer to the Council Regulation. These Regulations exist to protect farm livestock, but they include general principles which should be borne in mind. Article 1 states “This Regulation shall not apply to the transport of animals which does not take place in connection with an economic activity and to the transport of animals directly to or from veterinary practices or clinics, under the advice of a veterinarian.” The regulation lays down all the provisions for animals in transport that come under the definition of an economic activity, e.g as a business or commercial venture, such as hauliers. The only defences are listed as those that are exempted from the regulation and not an economic activity.
This Order stipulates the construction and use of receptacles in which animals are transported.
The main conditions are that the receptacle is suitable for the species contained therein.
That there is means of inspection.
That the animal can stand in its natural position, turn around and lie down.
That there is suitable ventilation and litter (bedding) and that the animals are fed and watered at
suitable intervals according to species.
No animal should be transported within sight of a natural predator.
Therefore these conditions apply to healthy wild animals in transit.