12 April 2007

Animal Welfare Act in the UK

Last Friday, the Animal Welfare Act came into effect in the United Kingdom. Quoting from the Department For Environment Food and Rural Affairs' web page...
The five essential requirements that the owner of a pet will need to provide are:

  • a suitable environment (where it lives)
  • a suitable diet (what it eats and drinks).
  • to be able to behave normally.
  • to be housed with or apart from other animals, (whatever is best for that particular animal).
  • to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
There must have been an anti-animal cruelty statute before in the UK, I'm sure, but this is interesting because it imposes duties on a person. Would it require someone to take their cat to a veterinarian if it got sick? (I'm not saying that a person shouldn't do this, of course, but it imposes a duty like a parent would have for a child.)
Speaking of children, you will now have to be sixteen to buy a pet in the UK (or receive it as a prize).
The full text of the Act is here. I love how it starts with language that probably has not been changed since, oh, say, 1600 or earlier:
"BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:— "
My question, though, is who are these Lords Spiritual? Are they Lords from Parliaments past?
(Yes, I suppose it could be King's most Excellent Majesty as the case might be, but otherwise I imagine it has not changed much otherwise)


Jerry said...

although I cannot be bothered to look it up, I think there is a distinction between members of the House of Lords--one that may no longer exist. I seem to recall there being a life position and positions that are hereditary. Either that or it's a reference to the Clergy who have positions as Lords--from what I understand, certain positions in the House go to the clergy. I suppose I'll look it up later.

Jerry said...

Yeah, just looked it up--it's the clergy.

D said...

Thanks, Jerry! If I ever have a question about British law, I'll know who to contact.