Casework & Projects
We want to see strong animal protection laws. This means having robust legislation that is properly enforced. We also want to see the courts applying legislation and building up a body of case law around animal protection. Find out more about some of our recent casework and projects below, which feed into our legal advocacy work.
The Senior Policy Team
Our legal advocacy for animals! Highlighting some of…
our policy and project work and the lawyers who contribute their vital expertise to help animals.
In 2014 A-law held a symposium bringing together key animal welfare charities and animal advocates to discuss ways in which law reform could help the fight against puppy farming (low welfare/high profit breeders). We were later able to put one of our legal volunteers in touch with campaigners for Lucy’s Law, which bans the third party sale of puppies.We continue to monitor the need for legal reform in this area, including restrictions on imports.
The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2020 raises the maximum sentence for the most serious offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from six months to five years imprisonment. Our Policy Team worked with other animal groups in support of tougher sentencing powers, and we want to see a similar increase in penalties for serious offences against wildlife. You can read submissions we made on the topic to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee in July 2019 here.
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
There has been widespread criticism of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, both on welfare grounds and for its perceived failure to protect the public from dog attacks. In particular, the breed specific provisions have been criticised for their indiscriminatory nature and harsh provisions which have seen healthy, good natured dogs killed due to their breed. We have advocated for this legislation to be reviewed by the Law Commission with a view to informing law reform.
Brexit & Beyond
We teamed up with Wildlife & Countryside Link (WCL) to host workshops for animal advocacy groups and charities about some of the legal issues arising from Brexit. We worked with WCL and the groups to publish a major Report for animals, identifying key threats and opportunities. We have continued to work with the #BetterDealforAnimals coalition, bringing together animal charities and NGOs to secure stronger animal protection laws post Brexit. We are grateful to Lush for sponsoring the Brexit report.
Trade & Animal Welfare Standards
Leaving the EU means that the UK can now enter into trade deals with the EU and other nations. It is important for animal welfare that chepaer, low animal welfare imports are not permitted, and that the UK raises its own standards to match other nations, where appropriate. We are working with animal advocacy groups to ensure that they have the skills to inform negotiations. We are grateful to Lush for funding to ensure that specific trade expertise is available.
Current Issues & Debates in Parliament
We offer a unique legal perspective on the debates and Bills that are currently before Parliament and affect animals. Visit our publications page to read our consultation responses, briefing papers and press releases. You will also find more information about other specific projects on our pages dedicated to wild animals, companion animals, farmed animals and animals in science. Visit our Scotland page to learn more about the work of our Scottish Steering Committee.
Enforcement of Animal Welfare Laws
Britain often claims to have world-leading animal welfare laws. Those laws are meaningless, though, if not properly enforced and problems with enforcement have been highlighted in parliamentary reports and elsewhere. We are starting new projects to examine enforcement of animal welfare laws across the UK and will be collaborating with partner organisations, such as the All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare (APGAW).
Spotlight on Hannah Darnell
Hannah is a private client solicitor. During lockdown, Hannah used her personal time to raise funds for her local animal shelter, Willows. She raised tens of thousands of pounds, helping the shelter stay solvent during a difficult period. Hannah is also a member of our Scotland Committee and contributes to our policy work.