Return to LAWS Local Authority Animal Welfare Charter

Policy on Council Activities and Education

1) The Council is responsible for the licensing and enforcement of licence conditions in respect of a range of activities involving animals, including: Dog Breeding, Pet Shops, Animal Boarding, Riding Establishments, and Zoos. The Council also has a role in enforcement of a range of other statutory powers in relation to dogs (including dangerous dogs), stray dogs and dog fouling.

2) Through the Local Police Authority, the Council will:

a) As soon as possible, ensure that Animal Welfare Liaison Officers are appointed who will have special training and knowledge of Animal Welfare legislation. These Officers would liaise with all relevant bodies to help ensure the efficient enforcement of Animal Welfare legislation and to prevent cruelty to animals.

b) Working with relevant responsible animal welfare organisations, ensure that an inspection procedure, using trained lay visitors is put in place for police dogs and horses to ensure their welfare is maintained at the highest level.

3) In order to fulfill its statutory responsibilities under this legislation the Council will:

a) Employ a core of trained and experienced personnel and where necessary and appropriate call upon the expertise of others to assist in the process.

b) Produce, apply and regularly review conditions attached to licences issued by the Council to provide adequate protection for animals and promote their welfare.

c) Prepare and distribute to all involved, material explaining the provisions of the law and licence conditions so as to promote a better understanding of the law and greater compliance with the various statutes.

d) Inspect premises and carry out such enquiries as required prior to their licence application being determined to ensure that they will comply with the licence conditions.

e) Patrol the Borough/District/County to deal with stray dogs, dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog ownership.

f) Liaise closely with other enforcing agencies to ensure a co-ordinated approach to animal welfare.

4) The Council recognises that it may also be required to enforce statutory powers relating to pest control. In such circumstances, the Council will seek to employ non-lethal control measures whenever possible and only kill pest species when there are no other methods available and where they present a serious threat to the health or well-being of the local community.

5) The Council’s Dog Warden service will continue to develop its advisory and social welfare role. This will include promotional campaigns on good pet ownership, talks to voluntary groups and schools and the provision of display and information stands at suitable venues.

6) The Council’s Animal Welfare Officers will produce a series of leaflets clearly setting down legislative controls and including any current advice for distribution to all licensed pet shops, dog breeders, cat and dog boarders, riding establishments and keepers of dangerous wild animals.

7) The Council will assist Defra ensuring that the proprietors of commercial enterprises involving animals are provided with advisory leaflets etc.

8) The Council will support the local farm animal welfare liaison group’s training programme for commercial enterprises and will seek to provide advice to abattoirs, slaughterhouses and other establishments where animals are killed for food on the premises.

9) Council emergency plans, including those drawn up for mass evacuations, will include provisions for companion and other animals.

10) This Council is concerned by the levels of distress caused to animals by fireworks and supports a noise limit of 97 decibels for them. The Council will seek to limit public displays of fireworks to areas which cause least harm and distress to animals.
1) The Council is a large purchaser of products and services and where relevant will take into account animal welfare issues when specifying products or services e.g. wherever possible only cleaning products and cosmetics that have not been tested on animals will be purchased. An ethical code will be drawn up relating to Council purchasing.

2) The Council will not allow on any Council owned or managed land, rodeos, circuses or travelling menageries which include performing animals, and will use its statutory powers to prevent performing animals acts in theatres wherever possible.

3) The Council will seek to ensure that at least one vegetarian meal, to the specification of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain, and one vegan meal, to the specification of the Vegan Society will appear on all menus in Council run facilities or establishments where the Council has influence – including and especially schools and other educational facilities. Wherever possible meat products will be sourced from welfare friendly suppliers.

4) The Council realises that the use of real fur on robes and other garments relating to Council office may cause offence to many local people who see real fur as cruel and unnecessary. The Council will therefore not use real fur on any such garments and replace any existing real fur as soon as possible.

5) This Council recognises that climate change is happening and will have serious consequences for animals as well as people. The Council will do all it can to help meet local, national and international targets to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and to conserve energy.

6) The Council will not allow the giving of live animals as prizes at fun fairs on Council owned or managed land.

7) The Council is opposed to large scale pheasant shooting seeing it as wasteful and cruel.

8) The Council is opposed to the unnecessary use of agrochemicals and pesticides and in the furtherance of this policy the Council will:

a) Ensure that the horticultural staff work closely with animal welfare groups to use methods of weed control etc. which are not harmful to wildlife, and wherever possible, weeds are controlled by the use of alternative methods and not chemicals. If chemicals must be used, they should be of a type which would have minimum effect on the environment and must be on the “approved list” published by the Defra under control of Pesticide Regulations 1986.

b) Ensure that where practicable, and desirable, hedgerows and roadside banks under Council control will be managed to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds and animals during the breeding season, and encourage the growth of wild flowers.

9) The Council is opposed to the use of snares and other traps which cause suffering to animals. It approves of live traps only when certain conditions are adhered to and new/renewed licences on Council owned/managed land will include a clause reflecting this, particularly the need for them to be under the control of a skilled person adhering strictly to legislative controls.

10) The Council will encourage those who fish in Council controlled waters or from Council controlled land to adopt the following code of practice based on the Medway Report:

a) The use of double and treble hooks should be avoided.

b) Fish that swallowed the hook and those intended for food should be killed humanely before any attempt is made to unhook them.

c) To assist in removing hooks all anglers should possess suitable “disgorgers” appropriate to the size, and species of the fish they are likely to catch.

d) Promote the use of barbless hooks which cause less injury to the fish and, being easier to remove, reduce the amount of handling required.

e) If keep nets are used, fish should be confined for the shortest possible time, to reduce the risk of injury.

f) Great care should be taken when handling fish to minimise damage to the thin protective layer of skin and mucus covering the scales. Damage to this layer will increase the chance infection and reduce the ability of the fish to survive.

g) Prolonged “playing” of fish, especially those destined to be returned to the water, and the use of ultra-fine tackle which necessitates such “playing”, should be avoided.

h) Fish which are killed following capture should be dispatched as quickly and humanely as possible. Anglers should know how to kill a fish humanely.

i) In view of the dangers posed to wildlife and other animals by discarded fishing tackle, anglers should not use lead weights ensure the safe disposal of unwanted or tangled fishing tackle.

11) Angling clubs fishing in Council controlled waters or from Council controlled land will be encouraged to arrange for younger members to receive guidance from qualified instructors concerning the biology of fish and their relationships with other animals in order to help reduce the incidence of inconsiderate behaviour towards them.

12) The Council, as an Education Authority, will:

a) Encourage the management of school grounds as ecological reserves.

b) Encourage the use of videos and computer simulations for teaching anatomy and physiology in schools as opposed to more traditional methods.

c) Explain to the school children the law in relation to protected and non-protected species in accordance with Section 25 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, the Protection of Animals Act 1911 and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

d) Encourage the study of animals, their welfare, conservation and the responsible ownership of pets. Each school will be encouraged to have an “Animal Welfare Policy” of its own. Animal welfare groups should be asked to provide speakers and educational material.