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(o) the advancement of animal welfare

Published: 20/08/2015
Updated: 20/08/2015


This purpose focuses on the prevention of cruelty to animals or the prevention or relief of suffering by animals, rather than the conservation of a specific animal or species.

What do we mean by animal welfare?

To be charitable, the advancement of animal welfare means preventing or relieving the suffering of animals. This could be animals in general, or a particular type of animal.

It does not mean the conservation of a particular animal or bird, or wildlife in general. Organisations set up for the conservation of a specific animal or species fall under the advancement of environmental protection or improvement.

What activities might provide public benefit when advancing this purpose?

In general, public benefit is the way that a charity makes a positive difference to the public. Activities that provide public benefit when advancing animal welfare include:

  • rescuing, rehabilitating or rehoming animals
  • providing veterinary treatment 
  • running shelters for abandoned, abused or injured animals
  • any other activities that relieve the suffering of animals or advance their well-being.

Organisations with this charitable purpose should be able to demonstrate that they have the facilities, expertise, and equipment to provide the appropriate level of care for the animals in question.

Sometimes, animal welfare organisations will have to show that they hold an appropriate licence in relation to the species they work with. For example, an organisation running a wildlife park would require a zoo licence.

Case 1: an organisation’s rehoming activities clearly advanced animal welfare 

A charity established in England and Wales applied to us for charitable status in Scotland with purposes including the welfare and rehabilitation of unwanted or vulnerable racehorses and former racehorses.

The charity provided evidence that as well as working directly to rehome and retrain racehorses which were at risk of neglect or abuse, it worked to raise awareness of those issues in the horseracing industry through promotional and educational programmes. 

We considered that that charity’s purposes related clearly to the advancement of animal welfare, and that its activities provided public benefit for that purpose.  The application to become a charity was successful.