World Animal Day is pleased to support World Animal Net's Model Animal Welfare Act. Ethical, scientific, and policy developments have led to many countries seeking to introduce or improve national animal welfare legislation. This Model Animal Welfare Act has been prepared to assist with this process. 

The in-depth work to produce this publication took over three years, and included an extensive comparative law exercise which considered: progressive animal welfare laws from across the world; legislative guidance; an examination of ‘best practice’ animal welfare systems; as well as a rigorous consultation phase with leading international experts in the field. 

The result is a Model Animal Welfare Act which can be used as a guide and information source for any countries seeking to introduce or improve their animal welfare legislation. To assist in this task, in addition to presenting the text of the Model Act, other helpful aspects have been included such as underlying rationale (including a brief overview of the current animal welfare policy environment) and full explanatory notes which incorporate: reasons for the suggested approaches selected, and alternative options; recommendations for policy and enforcement mechanisms; advice on potential pitfalls; and guidance on the content needed in implementing regulations.

The Model Animal Welfare Act covers all aspects of animal welfare. In addition to guiding principles and rules (‘core obligations’) – which are provided to ensure a coherent and consistent approach to animal welfare across all sectors – the following specific categories of animal use/issues are included: 

  • Companion animals (pets) – including stray dog and cat management.
  • Animals kept for farming purposes – including fish farming – as well as animal transport and killing/slaughter.
  • Animals used for experimentation – including science, research and testing.
  • Wildlife – including ‘pest’ control, and animals in zoos/aquaria.
  • Animals used for work.
  • Animals used for sports, leisure or entertainment.

It is recognised that this Model Animal Welfare Act will need to be adapted to take account of each country’s national situation and specific animal welfare concerns. However, with this new resource countries will have the opportunity to design modern, comprehensive animal welfare legislation on a very high level. 

World Animal Net is an internationally recognised NGO with offices in the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and South Africa. WAN has a network of over 3,000 affiliate animal welfare societies in more than 100 countries, and consultative status at the United Nations.

A PDF copy of the Model Animal Welfare Act is available for download