The advancement of animal welfare is one of the primary precepts in the USPCA mission. Working against a backdrop where Northern Ireland has fallen further behind the rest of the UK and ROI in legislating to enhance animal welfare; the USPCA continues to engage with the NI Assembly to inform and influence the debate on a range of priority animal welfare issues.

There is the All Party Group on Animal Welfare which provides a dedicated platform for cross-party discussion and action on Animal Welfare and its surrounding issues.

Aligning with the formation of the All Party Group, the USPCA has also launched its Animal Welfare Manifesto which sets the scene of animal welfare in Northern Ireland and unfortunately reinforces the shortfall in Northern Ireland's current legislation. The Manifesto provides a roadmap of the following animal welfare issues which could help bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK and ROI and drive real change to protect vulnerable animals within our society.

  • The introduction of Lucy’s law to Northern Ireland – banning the 3rd party sale of puppies under 6 months old to tackle the rogue puppy traders.             
  • Seeking greater controls on selling puppies on-line in order to tackle the illegal and cruel puppy dealers                                                                                                                   
  • Badgers & bovine tb. - Providing an informed and balanced view to avoid the indiscriminate culling of this protected species.                                                       
  • The introduction of a Register of Banned Animal Welfare Offenders – to reduce reoffending by those banned from keeping animals.                             
  • Recognising developments in the business of animals - updating licencing regulations to ensure appropriate welfare standards at animal shelters, grooming parlours, doggy day care and mobile animal exhibits.                                                                         
  • Banning wild animals in circuses – to protect these special animals from needless abuse.                  
  • Banning hunting with dogs – to end the cruelty inflicted on defenceless wildlife.                       
  • Compulsory microchipping of cats – to enhance traceability and reunite lost or stolen animals with their owners.                                                                                      
  • The risks to animal welfare of Brexit; highlighting the key animal welfare issues which must be considered in any post Brexit trade agreement.                                    
  • Disposal orders - A change to existing legalisation would provide the enforcement agencies with the relevant powers to rehome animals after 21 days. 
  • Stronger sentences relating to Animal Welfare cases.
  • A rewrite of the current sentencing guidelines to provide the courts with new aggravating factors to award stronger sentences to those who commit animal welfare offences.