Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), local authorities, the Animal & Plant Health Agency and the police all have powers to investigate allegations of animal cruelty or poor welfare (including power of entry to inspect premises).
Under the 2006 Act, anyone is able to take forward a prosecution, and it is on this basis that the RSPCA has been enforcing animal welfare legislation in this country. The RSPCA currently successfully prosecutes 800 to 1,000 people each year.
The Government recognises the valuable work the RSPCA does to improve the welfare of animals. Defra remains committed to continuing its engagement with the RSPCA, and other organisations involved in enforcement activities, so that our high animal welfare standards are maintained and offenders are subject to appropriate penalties.