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Animal welfare

There is a wide range of legislation to protect the health and welfare of animals in captivity.

This page explains the standards that owners and keepers must maintain and how to report suspected animal cruelty.

All owners and keepers of animals have a duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Owners and keepers must take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs:

  • A suitable environment
  • A suitable diet
  • To be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • To be housed with, or apart, from other animals
  • To be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

The Chartered Institute Environmental Health (CIEH) have issued advice on who is responsible for what in animal welfare and the GOV.UK animal guidance lists the legislation and guidances on animal welfare.

How do I report suspected animal cruelty?

The City of London Animal Welfare Services Team, under contract, carries out visits on behalf of local authorities across London and the Home Counties. You can contact the City of London Animal Welfare Services Team on 0208 897 6741 who will direct you to the appropriate organisation or local authority.

The organisation to which you report suspected cases of cruelty or neglect to depends on the animal and the type of establishment they're kept in.

Farm animals

​The City of London works with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)  to enforce legislation governing the health and welfare of farm animals. This includes responding to complaints of neglect or ill treatment of livestock on farms, during transport, at markets, etc. If you suspect a problem related to farm animals in Greater London please call the City of London Animal Welfare Services Team on 0208 897 6741. Your call will be treated in confidence.

Licensed premises (pet shops etc.)

​If you suspect a problem with animal welfare in a licensed premise you can contact the local authority in which the business is located. Visit the GOV.UK website to find the correct local authority to contact.

All other cases

​If you suspect that any other animal is being subjected to any form of cruelty you should contact the RSPCA.

If you suspect a case of cruelty or neglect of a horse you can contact World Horse Welfare.


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