From today (6 April), animals throughout England and Wales will receive greater protection under the new Animal Welfare Act.

Hailed as the most important piece of animal welfare legislation for nearly a century, the Act places a “duty of care” on people to ensure that they cater for the needs of any animal for which they are responsible. It creates a new offence of failing to provide for the needs of an animal and allows action to protect animals to be taken much earlier than before.

Paul Teasdale, chief field officer for the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), said: “ILPH field officers have been looking forward to this Act for many years and will bid farewell to the old one with little affection.

“We are eager to tackle equine welfare in the UK even more effectively.”

In Scotland, the Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) came into force on 6 October 2006.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (5 April, ’07)