HC Deb 15 February 1999 vol 325 cc520-1W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to ensure that(a) chimpanzees and (b) other non-domestic animals in private ownership are not maltreated. [70887]

Mr. George Howarth

All non-domestic animals in private ownership are protected by the Protection of Animals Act 1911, under which it is a criminal offence to ill-treat or cause any unnecessary suffering to any captive animal.

In addition, there is legislation for the keeping of these animals in certain circumstances. The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 gives local authorities and the police the power to enter at all reasonable times and inspect any premises in which performing animals are kept for training or exhibition, and to inspect those animals.

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 makes it an offence to keep certain animals, listed in a Schedule to the Act, without a licence from the local authority. Before issuing a licence the authority should be satisfied that suitable standards of health, welfare and accommodation for the animal will be provided.

Under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, all zoos must be licensed by the local authority. Inspections are carried out to ensure that the standards of accommodation, staffing or management are adequate for the proper care and well-being of the animals.