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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on animal welfare of it not being a mandatory requirement for a local authority to have an animal welfare inspector with responsibility for enforcement of Animal Welfare Act 2006; and what representations his Department has received in the last 12 months from (a) the Home Office and (b) police forces on the costs of taking steps to protect animal welfare where a local authority animal welfare inspector is not in place.
Anyone is able to take out a prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and it is on this basis that the RSPCA investigate calls and prosecute hundreds of people each year for offences under the Act. Local authorities also have enabling powers under the Act and make decisions on their approach to the Act based on local needs and resource priorities and the arrangements that work best for them, working as necessary in partnership with others where helpful. Defra is in regular discussion with the police and Home Office on animal welfare issues and we have received no specific representations from them in the last 12 months on the costs to them of protecting animal welfare where a local authority animal welfare inspector is not in place.