Lecture in Limoges

21 November 2016

Lecture in Limoges

On 10 November 2016, Hannah Brown, ALAW’s Legal and Project Manager, spoke at a conference in Limoges, France on the status of animals in common law jurisdictions.

The conference, entitled “The links between ethics and law—the example of animals” looked at the way ethic influences the law in the context of animals and was organised by the Law and Economic Sciences Departments at the University of Limoges.

Hannah explained how under common law, people are categorised as persons and animals are categorised as things, and the consequence this has for animals in terms of protection and potential rights.

She shared a stage with Antoine Goetschel, President and founder of the Global Animal Law Project, and Prof. Marita Gimenez Candela, professor at the Faculty of Law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

Hannah’s lecture will be published at the beginning of 2017.

Licensing Consultation – DEFRA publishes summary of responses

14 November 2016

Defra has now published its Summary of Responses to its consultation on the licensing of animal establishments in England (the “Summary”) which ran for 12 weeks from 20 December 2015 until 12 March 2016. This article sets out the Summary’s key findings. In short, respondents were very positive about updating the licensing system.

The Summary is available in full here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/552955/animal-establishments-consult-sum-resp.pdf

Background: the Existing Regime

Local authorities are required by law to issue licences for specific animal-related establishments and activities, with the aim of maintaining good standards of animal welfare. There is a registration requirement for performing animals, and licensing systems for pet shops, animal boarding, riding establishments and dog breeding. Estimates show that there are approximately 2,300 licensed pet shops, 650 licensed dog breeders, 1,800 licensed riding establishments, and 6,300 licensed animal boarding establishments in England. (Summary p1)

As Alan Bates set out in his presentation at the ALAW event on 2nd March 2016 on the Defra consultation, the existing system is not fit for purpose since:

  • the parameters of each licensing system are unclear;
  • there is inconsistency in the approaches of different local authorities;
  • enforcement is patchy;
  • there are undesirable bureaucratic burdens;
  • it is not well-suited to dealing with internet sales.

Defra itself summarises the problem as being that “the laws, and their specific requirements, are often decades old, and difficult to adapt to the changing types of animal-related businesses, and to new standards of good practice in animal welfare. Moreover, the current process is complex and burdensome for both businesses and local authorities. For instance, primary legislation limits licences to a calendar-year framework, arbitrarily focussing inspections at the end of the year, and forcing some businesses with multiple functions to have as many as three separate licences.” (Summary p1)

The Proposal

Defra proposes to introduce new secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which would introduce a single ‘Animal Establishment Licence’ for animal boarding establishments, pet shops, riding establishments and dog breeding. The stated aim is to “relieve the administrative burden on local authorities, simplify the application and inspection process for businesses, as well as maintain and improve existing animal welfare standards by modernising the current animal licensing system in England.”  (Summary p1)

Summary of Responses

Defra received 1,386 substantive responses to the consultation questions, of which 6% came from animal welfare organisations. By far the largest group to respond (49%) was members of the public with an interest in the subject.

Single Animal Establishment Licence

71% of respondents were positive about the proposal to introduce a single Animal Establishment Licence. Just 20% of responses were negative. The most common positive comment was that this would reduce the burden on businesses and local authorities and simplify the process. It was noted that the licence would need to incorporate different requirements for the different types of establishment covered.

Model Conditions

Again, 71% of responses were positive about the proposal to promote or require the use of Model Conditions by local authorities (for activities where they have been agreed). 16% of responses were negative, and a further 13% replied “don’t know” with a proportion of those wanting more information on the contents of the Model Conditions. Those in favour felt “it would improve clarity and standardisation across LAs and that it would be beneficial to be able to easily update the standards” (Summary p5). Agreement was frequently on the condition that the Model Conditions would be updated regularly by experts.

Breeding and Sale of Dogs

When asked whether they agreed with the proposal to prohibit the sale of puppies below the age of 8 weeks, 90% of respondents agreed. The most common comment was that “puppies need to stay with their mothers and siblings until they are 8 weeks old for socialisation, support, training, learning bite inhibition and to develop immunity against diseases” (Summary p6)

Licensing threshold for Dog Breeders

64% of respondents agreed with the proposal to make clear that the statutory licensing threshold for dog breeders is set at 3 or more litters per year. The Summary clarified that this meant 3 litters per breeder, retaining the existing requirement that each breeding bitch only produce one litter per year. It was felt that hobby breeders would be unlikely to have 3 litters in a year, meaning that this threshold would only catch businesses.

Information for Pet Sales

When asked whether there should be a legal requirement to provide written information when selling animals, 90% of responses were positive. It was frequently commented that this was already good practice. Respondents felt this would be of use in reminding those who buy pets of what they have been told by the seller.

Some respondents offered more measures that could address the care of exotic animals. “The importance of a high level of knowledge and understanding of the needs of the animals was commonly raised, and a lot of respondents suggested that this be checked prior to purchase, for example, by asking the buyer to carry out a test, or to demonstrate that they have particular qualifications. It was suggested that buyers could be required to join a specialist club/society or to register with a specialist vet.” (Summary p12)

Licences at any Point in the Year

At present, licences must begin and end with the calendar year. There was strong agreement (83%) with the proposal to allow licences to be issued for a fixed term which can begin at any point in the year. It was felt this would “reduce the administrative burden on businesses and allow them to plan their workload more effectively” (Summary p14).

Three Year Licences

Responses were very mixed to the question whether maximum licence length should be increased to 3 years. 48% were positive and 40% were negative. It was suggested positively that this would be more efficient, as authorities could allocate more resources to poorer performing or higher risk establishments. On the other hand, negative responses highlighted that a lot can change in 3 years.

Other Responses

  • Responses were largely negative (61%) to the proposal to allow licence holders to transfer licences to new owners of the same premises.
  • 95% of respondents agreed with the proposal to require licence holders to notify local authorities of major changes such as a change of premises or scale of activities.
  • The majority (72%) of respondents supported keeping the proposal to maintain the registration requirement for performing animals.
  • 56% of respondents were positive about proposals to change the registration system for performing animals. The changes proposed were to update the legal standards to explicitly refer to the welfare needs set out in the Animal Welfare Act, remove the need for local authorities to send copies of the paperwork to Defra and to extend powers of inspection to premises where performing animals are kept.
  • A clear majority (72%) of respondents favoured proposals to give local authorities powers of entry into animal establishments.
  • Responses were very mixed to the idea of allowing an exemption from licensing requirements for businesses affiliated to a body accredited by UKAS: the most common answer was ‘don’t know’, with 43% disagreeing and 31% agreeing. A common response was that this system would be too confusing.
  • Even more respondents (43%) replied ‘don’t know’ to the question ‘To what extent do you think sector-led UKAS-accredited certification schemes could improve animal welfare in unlicensed areas? If so, what would work best and how could this process be encouraged?’. Respondents in that group were split between not understanding the question and being undecided on the value of the proposal itself.


Defra ended by stating that Regulations will be drafted over the next few months which take into account views expressed in the consultation.

Author: Imogen Proud, Monckton Chambers.

Petition to Close Domestic Ivory Market

14 November 2016


Will Travers OBE, President and CEO of the Born Free Foundation has asked that we share this petition to close the UK domestic ivory market.

The aim is to acquire a minimum of 100,000 signatures so that this Petition is considered for debate in Parliament.

Please SHARE AND PROMOTE the link:

Diminishing elephant populations across Africa due to the ivory trade is an international concern and the UK has the opportunity to help end this global poaching crisis now. Thousands of elephants are mercilessly killed each year to meet the increasing demand for non-essential ivory products across the  globe. There are a number of debated measures to combat the destructive trade. Banning all domestic trade nation by nation is a crucial step.

Elephants are increasingly considered to have intrinsic value as individual animals. Furthermore, the rate of the ever decreasing populations of elephants in a number of African countries have both urgent and far reaching environmental and ecological concerns for many. As well as those who advocate for the conservation of elephants as a species and against the significant harm done to large numbers of elephants through the trade in ivory, many are concerned that the well-organised crime operations directly involved in wildlife trafficking pose a threat to global security whilst these large scale operations fuel international criminal networks. At a more local level anti-poaching patrols put their lives on the line every day in an ongoing battle to defeat those entangled in the horrific industry.

The current UK legislation permits the domestic trade of illegal ivory yet allows existing ‘antique’ ivory to be traded. This legislation is unworkable as it does not prevent the illegal trade. It cannot be effectively monitored thereby providing a loophole for criminals. A significant number of wildlife conservationists and biologists are united in the need for a change in the law in the UK and elsewhere. The UK can do its part in closing the entire domestic market. We cannot afford to allow any trade in ivory, antique or otherwise, whilst those involved in the illegal poaching industry can exploit these existing markets which provide cover for illegal ivory.

Full domestic bans in ivory trade, and the trade of other endangered animal parts, have been brought in elsewhere and recently across the United States in the states of Oregon, Washington and California following significant public support and concern. In banning the domestic trade of all ivory, wildlife traffickers are restricted in their operations thereby reducing the incentive to poach.

The issue is no doubt complex and requires additional considerations to include awareness, adequate enforcement of the legislation, training for enforcement officers, prioritisation and improved communication with other countries. Yet it is evident that in urgently amending our legislation so as to put an end to the UK market in ivory full stop, we can greatly assist in ending the poaching crisis.

Author: Alice Collinson, Animal Law LL.M student at Lewis and Clark Law School, USA, and non-practicing UK litigation solicitor.

Disasters of upbringing, are these the pathways to aggression in people and dogs


Comparative Medicine Meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine

Date: Wednesday 30 November 2016
CPD: 5 CPD credits (applied for)
Venue: Royal Society of Medicine
To book: www.rsm.ac.uk/events/cmh01

The aim of this meeting is to explore and compare the psychological impact of risk and response to aggression in man and dogs – two species whose lives have been intertwined for thousands of years.

  • Understand animals are at risk when people are at risk.
  • Clearly state the differences in the psychological impact of trauma and the effect of genetics.
  • Understand the connections between the protection of children and animals.

Click here to download the leaflet (pdf).


2015 essay competition winners announced

03 DECEMBER 2015

Natalie Kyneswood, who is studying an MSc in Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Bristol, has won this year’s ALAW student essay competition.

Natalie Kyneswood Grace Wright Emily Au
From left to right: Natalie Kyneswood, Grace Wright and Emily Au.

The contest saw law students from all over the world submit their answers to the question: “The Hunting Act 2004 has been a useless piece of legislation and therefore should be repealed.” Discuss.

The winning essay will be published in the ALAW journal.

Grace Wright, a BPTC student at BPP, took second place. The third runner up, Emily Au, is a third year Law student at the University of Exeter.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all that entered this year’s Student essay competition.

Call for papers – illegal hunting

13 May 2015

Papers are invited for a special illegal hunting themed issue of the European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Justice.

Guest editors: Angus Nurse, Middlesex University, London and Hans Peter Hansen, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Illegal hunting constitutes an expression of contested legitimacy of wildlife regulation across the world. Community support for the practice has roused the attention of multiple disciplines towards understanding the crime and mitigating its development, while researchers have also explored challenges in enforcing wildlife regulations and the dangers inherent for conservation professionals in doing so.

This special edition contextualises illegal hunting within criminological and criminal justice discourse on resistance/violations of European/EU wildlife regulation. Contributions are invited from scholars exploring illegal hunting within a European criminological context and are particularly welcomed in the following areas:

  • Discussing the motivations ideologies and typologies of potential offenders
  • Assessing the broader environment in which illegal hunting serves as a symptom of discontent, distrust and lack of legitimacy surrounding regulatory frameworks, wildlife conservation policies, and broader issues of development, modernity and attitudes towards non-human animals.
  • Papers examining the policing of hunting laws, exploring both narrow and wide conceptions on policing
  • Analysis of how techniques of neutralization, relative deprivation and attitudes to animals are articulated by offenders both verbally and non-verbally
  • Papers examining the operation of the criminal law and criminal justice policy in relation to illegal hunting

Submission Deadline

Abstracts (maximum 300 words) are required by 1st June 2015. Subject to editorial acceptance completed papers will be required by 12th July 2015 in order to pass through the editorial process in line with the provisional publication schedule in Autumn 2015. This deadline will be strictly adhered to and all papers will be subject to the journal’s normal peer-review processes.

Accepted papers will need to strictly conform to the journal’s style guide and must fit within the aims and scope of the journal.  As a rule, manuscripts should not exceed 8,500 words.

Papers should, in the first instance be submitted to the guest editors:

Further details on the journal can be found at: www.brill.com/european-journal-crime-criminal-law-and-criminal-justice

US Judge issues Order to Show Cause for chimpanzees

29 April 2015

For the first time in history, a court in the United States has issued an Order to Show Cause on behalf of a non-human animal.

The case was brought by the Non-human Rights Project (NhRP) on behalf of two chimpanzees used for biomedical research at Stony Brook University (NY). The Order now requires the University to provide a legally sufficient reason for detaining the chimpanzees. The NhRP believes this is a promising step towards the recognition of legal rights for animals.

For more information, read the NhRP press release here.

Applications invited for the Animal Law LLM Scholarship

20 April 2015

We are pleased to share with you some exciting news from Natasha Dolezal, J.D., who is Director of the Animal Law LL.M. Program at the Center for Animal Law Studies, Lewis & Clark Law School, USA:

I am writing to share with you an exciting opportunity for European lawyers interested in animal law. We are pleased to announce, along with Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR), the TIR European Scholar LL.M. Award for the academic year 2015/2016. This award will enhance our LL.M. program which focusses on ways to further strengthen animal law legal education in the U.S. and on an international level. The award will provide one selected candidate with up to a 50% tuition reduction towards the Animal Law LL.M. degree at Lewis & Clark Law School, the world’s first and only postgraduate law degree focused specifically on animal law.

Any European law graduate or practicing attorney looking to immerse completely in the specialized animal law courses is eligible to apply. The award is available for the 2015-2016 academic year beginning August 30, 2015. The deadline for applications is June 1, 2015.

For more information please see the following downloads and links: