PROPOSED AMENDED ACT

(Lord Donoughue's Bill)

A. Offences.

Any person who intentionally causes unnecessary suffering to any wild mammal shall be guilty of an offence.

Exceptions from offence under the Act

(1). A person shall not be guilty of an offence under this Act by reason of any act done—

(a) in accordance with a recognised code, or

(b) subject to subsection(2), in the normal and humane conduct of a lawful and customary activity.

(2) Subsection (1)(b) shall not apply—

(a) where the suffering caused by the act should reasonably have been avoided or substantially alleviated in the course of hisconduct of that activity; or

(b) where—

(i) there is a recognised code regulating the conduct of a particular activity or part of an activity;
(ii) the alleged offence relates to conduct in the course of that activity or that part thereof; and
(iii) the conduct in question is contrary to an express provision of that code.

B. Regulations

(1) There shall be an Authority, appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule.

(2) The Authority may—

(a) recognise any body as the proper authority for making from time to time a code in respect of the normal and humane manner of onducting any activity in connection with wild mammals or one or more species of wild mammal;
(b) after proper consideration, approve a code made by any body so recognised as the proper code for regulating the conduct of the activity or part of the activity in respect of which that body was recognised.

(3) Where the Authority has approved any code, it shall submit that code to the Secretary of State.

(4) Where the Secretary of State receives from the Authority any code he may either—

(a) make a regulation recognising that code,or
(b) write to the Authority setting out the reasons why he does not consider that code to be suitable for recognition.

(5) Any regulation recognising a code shall be made by statutory instrument and shall not be made unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(6) The Authority shall not exercise any of the powers conferred by this section, unless it is satisfied that it has, or that provision has been made to provide to it, sufficient monies to enable it to exercise such powers.

C. Interpretation.

In this Act "wild mammal" means any mammal which is not a domestic or captive animal within the meaning of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 or the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 and “recognised code” means a code from time to time submitted by the Authority and recognised by the Secretary of State Powers of constable.

Where a constable has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person has committed an offence under the provisions of this Act and that evidence of the commission of the offence may be found on that person or in or on any vehicle he may have with him, the constable may-

(a) without warrant, stop and search that person and any vehicle or article he may have with him; and
(b) seize and detain for the purposes of proceedings under any of those provisions anything which may be evidence of the commission of the offence or may beliable to be confiscated under section 6 of this Act.

D. Penalties.

(1) A person guilty of an offence under this Act shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.

(2) Provided that where the offence was committed in respect of more than one wild mammal, the maximum fine which may be imposed shall be determined as if the person had been convicted of a separate offence in respect of each such wild mammal.

E. Court powers of confiscation &c.

(1) The court before whom any person is convicted under this Act may, in addition to any other punishment, order the confiscation of any vehicle or equipment used in the commission of the offence.

(2) The Secretary of State may, by regulations made by statutory instrument and subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament, make provision for the disposal or destruction in prescribed circumstances of any vehicle or equipment confiscated under this section.

F. Citation, commencement and extent.

(1) This Act may be cited as the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996.

(2) This Act shall come into force with the expiration of the period of two months beginning with its passing.

(3) This Act shall not apply to Northern Ireland.

(4) Section 6 of this Act shall not apply to Scotland, and so much of section 4 as refers to that section shall also not apply there.

G. SCHEDULE

The Authority

1. The Authority shall consist of—

(a) a chairman appointed by the Secretary of State;

(b) one member nominated by each of the following organisations or group of organisations—

(i) The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons,
(ii) The Joint Nature Conservation Committee,
(iii) The Country Land and Business Association,
(iv) The National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales,
(v) The British Association for Shooting and Conservation in conjunction with the National Gamekeepers' Organisation,
(vi) The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare.

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