Busking: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 4 February 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Co Chair, British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the animal welfare implications of the use of dogs by buskers.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

There are already laws and regulations in place to protect animals used by buskers. Dogs often act as companions for vulnerable members of the homeless community, aiding their rehabilitation to overcome many mental health issues.

However, there is an important distinction between these companion animals and dogs being exploited for money. Support and protection for these animals is further provided by charities including Dogs on the Streets, county borough animal warden services, busking regulators and city inspectors.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, local authorities and the police have the power to seize animals that they suspect have been subjected to mistreatment. It is also an offence under the Act to cause any unnecessary suffering to an animal or fail to provide for its welfare.

If anyone has concerns about the welfare of a particular animal, the Government encourages them to contact the RSPCA or the relevant local authority who can investigate the matter further.

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