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Animal Welfare: Prosecutions

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

For each year since 2002 what was the total number of (a) prosecutions, and (b) convictions under Section 1 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911. [HL3309]

Data from the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform, showing the number of defendants proceeded against at a magistrates' court and found guilty at all courts for the offence of cruelty to animals under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 in England and Wales from 2002 to 2005 can be viewed in table 1.

Court proceedings data for 2006 will be available in autumn 2007.

Data from the Scottish Executive showing the number of persons proceeded against for offences under Section 1 of the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 in Scottish courts from 2001-02 to 2005-06 can be viewed in table 2.

Data from the Northern Ireland Office showing the number of prosecutions and convictions under the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 can be viewed in table 3.

Table 1: The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' court and found guilty at all courts for the offence of cruelty to animals under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 in England and Wales, from 2002 to 2005(1) (2)

Prosecuted

Found guilty

2002

2003

2004

2005

2002

2003

2004

2005

1,006

999

984

1,061

768

783

787

843

(1) These data are on the principal-offence basis.

(2) 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.

Our ref: PQ HL3309

Source: RDS Office for Criminal Justice Reform

Table 2: Persons proceeded against in Scottish courts for offences under Section 1 of the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 (1), from 2001-02 to 2005-06

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Prosecuted

38

23

24

27

22

Charge proved

33

20

21

21

20

(1). Where main offence

Source: SEJD court proceedings database

Background note from information held on the SEJD court proceedings database. The figures for a particular year will exclude the outcome of court proceedings which had not been recorded on the Scottish Criminal Record Office (SCRO) criminal history system at the point at which the analysis file for that year was created—generally around 12 months after the end of the year in question. For example, the figures for 2005-06 will exclude any cases not recorded on the SCRO system by the end of February 2007. As it can take more than a year for the outcome details of some court disposals (particularly in the High Court) to be recorded on the SCRO system, the figures shown are likely to be slight underestimates.

Table 3: Prosecutions and Convictions under the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 (1) (2)

2002

2003

2004

2005

Pro

Con

Pro

Con

Pro

Con

Pro

Con

Owner permitting cruelty to animals

0

0

4

4

2

2

0

0

Abandoning animal

0

0

1

1

0

0

3

2

Causing unnecessary suffering to animals

6

6

11

8

9

8

10

9

Permitting cruelty to animals

0

0

2

1

0

0

2

2

Cruelty to animals

2

2

13

10

9

8

12

9

Causing unnecessary suffering to livestock

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Unlawful animal fighting

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

Failing to provide clean and comfortable lying area for pigs

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

10

10

31

24

20

18

28

23

(1) Data are collated on the principal-offence rule, thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included

(2) Data for 2005 are provisional.