The Animals Act 1971
This Act covers civil liability in the case of animals causing damage or injury by way of dangerousness, negligence or straying. It also covers the right of Livestock owners to protect their stock from dogs and the liability of owners who allow their dogs to worry livestock The definition of livestock in the 1971 Act is wider than in the 1953 Act which covers cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses and poultry. The Animals Act 1971 also includes pheasants, partridges and grouse whilst in captivity. If one of your animals injures someone or causes damage, you may be liable
You do not have to be negligent to be liable under this Act. But you won’t be liable if the damage or injury was wholly the fault of the person suffering it, or if they voluntarily accepted the risk of it happening to them.
Also if they were trespassing on the land where the animal was kept, you won’t normally be liable.
1. First, that the damage suffered was of a kind that the animal – unless restrained – was likely to cause, or was damage that, if caused by the animal, was likely to be severe
person is not liable under section 2 of this Act for:
(a) any damage which is due wholly to the fault of the person suffering it;
Currently consultations are ongoing on a proposal to amend section 2 (2)(b) of the Animals Act 1971 to clarify the application of strict liability to the keepers of animals that cause harm or damage. as s
Amend the Animals Act 1971 in respect of liability for harm caused by non dangerous animals.
· Amend section 2(2) of the Act to clarify the circumstances in which strict liability should apply. The policy that it seeks to reflect is that it is desirable that the keepers of animals, that do not belong to an inherently dangerous species, should be strictly liable for damage or harm caused by that animal when they know that the animal in question may be dangerous at the time the damage is caused, either because of its particular temperament, or because of the particular circumstances applying at the time, such as when it has young to protect.
· Restrict strict liability in respect of animals that do not belong to a dangerous species to cases where the animal is known to be of a dangerous disposition either permanently because of its temperament, or temporarily because of particular circumstances, such as when it has young to protect.
· Not alter the application of the common law in respect of negligence or health and safety legislation, in cases of loss or damage caused by non dangerous animals where the loss or damage from negligence or fault on the part of the keeper.