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Companion animals
CAWC looks at ways of raising awareness of pet animals' needs

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WAYS of improving pet owners' knowledge of the five welfare needs of their animals are considered in a recently published opinion by the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC).

Launching the council's opinion, Lord Soulsby, its chairman, said: ‘All owners and keepers of companion animals should ensure that their animals are kept in ways that achieve good physical health and mental wellbeing. Meeting an animal's five welfare needs is a sound route to achieving this. When the Animal Welfare Act was passed in 2006, meeting the five welfare needs changed from something that pet owners should do for their animals, to something that they must do. When achieved, this results in good animal welfare, but awareness of this approach needs to be raised and methods for communicating the five welfare needs in consistent ways need to be agreed and coordinated.’

In its opinion, the CAWC explains that updated animal protection legislation in the UK (the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Animal Health and Welfare [Scotland] Act 2006 and the Welfare of Animals Act [Northern Ireland] 2011) has introduced a legal duty of care on animal owners. A person responsible for an animal's welfare must now ensure that the animal has a suitable environment and a suitable diet, is able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, is housed with or apart from …

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