Animal Welfare: Prosecutions

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd July 2015.

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Photo of Lord Black of Brentwood Lord Black of Brentwood Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prosecutions there have been for animal cruelty in each of the last five years; and how many of those related to cruelty to cats.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

The number of prosecutions for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for each of the last five years, for which records are available, can be viewed in the table below. Centrally held statistics do not record the species of animal involved.

Defendants proceeded against at magistrates' court and found guilty at all courts for offences relating to causing, permitting or failing to prevent unnecessary suffering(1), England & Wales, 2010-2014(2)(3)








Causing, permitting or failing to prevent unnecessary suffering

Proceeded against






Found Guilty






(1) An offence under SS4(1) & 32(1) and 4(2) & 32(1) Animal Welfare Act 2006, which came into force on 6 April 2007.

(2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.

Ref: HL795

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