Registered Charity No. 1157841

British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

Appendix 1c

Destructive Imported Animals Act 1932

Various Orders are made under this Act to control non-native animals living in this country. The Grey Squirrels Order 1937 creates an offence for keeping grey squirrels in captivity without a

licence. The Coypu and Mink Order 1972 creates an offence for keeping these species without a licence. Such licenses are obtained from the Natural England or equivalent but it may be difficult to acquire such licences because the purpose of these Orders is to eradicate these species. The non-indigenous Rabbit Order 1954 also creates an offence of liberating non-indigenous rabbits.


Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (COTES)

These Regulations enact the Convention in Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) in UK legislation. Although unlikely to affect rehabilitators, it should be noted that permits are required to sell or display certain animals that are listed in the Annexes. Therefore you should be aware which species are listed and be aware of the legislation.


Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (as amended)

Section 19 provides penalties for those who practice, or hold themselves out as practising, veterinary surgery without having been enrolled by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on

their register. The general principle here being that an unqualified person should not carry out veterinary surgery, so those looking after wild animals in captivity should, in areas of doubt,

always seek professional veterinary advice. There are some exceptions to this rule in so far as rendering first-aid, in emergency, for the purpose of saving life or relieving pain is acceptable. The expression "first-aid" means the first assistance or treatment given to a casualty for any injury or sudden illness before a medical expert attends. It may involve improvising with facilities and materials at the time. There is reasoned argument that such treatment cannot be extended over a long period as the urgency of the situation will have been attended to and it is reasonable that, where necessary, expert medical advice is sought afterwards.


Protection of Animals (Anaesthetics) Acts 1954

Under this legislation, the term "animal" does not include "fowl or other bird, fish or reptile". Otherwise it does include all other vertebrates. The spirit of this legislation is to prevent any painful operation being carried out on any animal without the appropriate anaesthetic being administered. With the exception of some routingagricultural operations, anaesthetics would normally only be administered by a registered veterinary surgeon. Unless the treatment administered to a wild animal comes within the category of "first-aid" (see Veterinary Surgeons Act above), no person will carry out any operation on any captive wild animal without having regard to this legislation and the Animal Welfare Act 2006.


Zoo Licensing Act 1981

Under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, a licence is required to allow the public to view wild animals "with or without charge for admission, on more than six days in any period of 12 consecutive months". Such a licence is obtainable from the Local Authority and any establishment will be subject to inspection by a member (or members) of the Secretary of State's Inspectorate. The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (as amended) states that if any animal Scheduled under this Act is kept then a licence from the Local Authority is required.


Further information on wildlife legislation and licences etc. can also be found at: for England; for Wales; for Scotland.




Many of the above Acts will have had amendments made to them which may also be relevant. In some cases Scotland and Northern Ireland will have their own legislation which will be similar to, but not necessarily the same as, that in England and Wales.


Copies of these Acts, Orders and their amendments are obtainable from Her Majesty's Stationary Office, through bookshops or available at main libraries.