Animal welfare charter

Below is our draft London Borough of Camden Animal Welfare Charter.

1. Introduction

1.1. Camden Council recognises the needs of animals and condemns the infliction of unreasonable pain or suffering or the unnecessary imposition of restrictions on animals’ freedoms.

1.2. Camden Council recognises its statutory obligations for animal welfare, but believes that these minimum standards ought to be exceeded wherever possible, not merely serve as objectives. This Charter sets out the Council’s commitment to high standards of animal welfare for the benefit of all of its residents and animals.

1.3. This charter does not cover every aspect of animal welfare, and should not be seen as exhaustive, but its adoption serves as a step towards implementing higher standards across the Council’s work.

2. The five freedoms

2.1. Camden Council is committed to ensuring animals live lives free from cruel treatment and unnecessary suffering. In the furtherance of that, Camden Council recognises animals as having the right to enjoy at least the following Five Freedoms:

i) Freedom from hunger and thirst

ii) Freedom from discomfort

iii) Freedom from pain, disease, and injury

iv) Freedom from unnecessary constraint

v) Freedom from fear and distress

2.2. When adopting policies related to animals, Camden Council will consider and give a high degree of weight to the Five Freedoms above and will adopt policies improve animal welfare conditions.

3. Key commitments

3.1. Camden Council will take its statutory duties on animal welfare and wellbeing seriously and will ensure it abides by all of its statutory responsibilities.

3.2. In keeping with the commitment to exceed its bare statutory duties wherever possible, Camden Council makes the following specific commitments. Per the above, this list should not be seen as exhaustive.

i) Camden Council will use its powers to positively promote animal welfare and will not be a party or partner to any act that could unreasonably jeopardise an animal’s welfare.

ii) Camden Council will ensure that it abides by its statutory responsibilities to license and monitor animal breeding, boarding, sales, and riding establishments and will seek to uphold the highest veterinary standards in doing so.

iii) Camden Council will put a high priority on humane treatment of dogs that are seized or detained under the Council’s responsibility for stray dogs, including minimising stress and working to re-connect stray dogs with their owners and carers as a first recourse.

iv) Camden Council will either provide or ensure sufficient alternative service providers in the borough provide free microchipping of dogs to all residents upon request, and signpost such services online.

v) Camden Council will not allow hunting or shooting of animals of any kind, whether it is legal or otherwise, on land owned or governed by the Council. Camden Council will work with the City of London Corporation and other land-owners in the borough to encourage the prohibition of hunting or shooting of animals of any kind on their land.

vi) Camden Council will conduct annual inspections of all licensed premises when licences are granted or renewed, and conduct unannounced inspections of all premises, especially high-risk premises, to ensure that licence conditions are adhered to.

vii) Camden Council will adopt a policy of prioritising animal welfare when considering licences related to circuses or other shows. The Council will not allow circuses or other shows that include performing animals on any Council owned or managed land.

viii) Camden Council will not allow the letting or licensed use of land owned or governed by the Council to fairs or similar activities unless there is a clause specifically banning the provision of live animals, including fish, as prizes.

ix) Camden Council will not compel or coerce any person to eat or not eat meat, fish, or animal products. The Council recognises that doing so or not is an individual preference and choices may be based, inter alia, on animal welfare standards observed in the production of individual products. The Council respects the right of communities to fulfil cultural and religious dietary requirements, including the production and consumption of halal and kosher food.

x) Camden Council opposes the loss of wildlife habitats and will give consideration to this when proposing its own developments and to the full extent permitted by law when determining planning applications by other persons.

xi) Camden Council will seek to encourage all schools in the borough, including those not run by the Council, to make best use of the scarce environmental resources around them to make children more comfortable and confident in nature and respectful of animals.

xii) Camden Council will work with the Metropolitan Police and other services to tackle anti-social behaviour involving dogs, including the use or abuse of dogs to intimidate or attack other people or allowing dogs to attack or intimidate other dogs.

xiii) Camden Council supports responsible and sustainable angling on Hampstead Heath and local canals, and recommends that all anglers in the borough follow the key recommendations of the RSPCA Medway Report.

xiv) Camden Council discourages the feeding of pigeons, and will make provision for the safe and hygienic disposal of all waste, including food waste. Where pigeons are controlled, humane methods will be used.

xv) Camden Council will make minimal use of pesticides in all Council owned, controlled, or maintained open spaces and encourages the introduction of suitable flora and fauna into those spaces where appropriate through sympathetic long-term management.

xvi) Camden Council will update publicly-available information, including on the Council’s website, to reflect and promote animal welfare standards.

3.3. In all of the above, where exercising its public duties, Camden Council will consider all applications individually and consider all lawful factors, as required by law, but include within any consideration the Five Freedoms above to ensure the highest standards in animal welfare that is legally permissible.

3.4. Camden Council will, from time to time, consider whether to add items to or amend items on the above list of commitments to better reflect the evolution of higher possible welfare standards.

4. Responsibility

4.1. Camden Council will ensure that there are appropriate people responsible for animal welfare at every level of the council’s governance structure.

4.2. At any time, an employee of the Council shall be designated as its Animal Welfare Officer, with overall responsibility for ensuring that this Charter is implemented across the Council.

4.3. At any time, a member of the Executive arrangements of the Council will have within the position’s responsibilities the overall responsibility for ensuring that this Charter is integrated into the Council’s policies.

4.4. At any time, a single Scrutiny Committee shall be designated by its terms of reference as having overall responsibility for scrutinising the Council’s policies on animal welfare and this Charter’s implementation across the Council.