Animal Welfare Establishments

In 2019 the Animal Welfare Network Wales, in collaboration with the Welsh Government produced the Code of Best Practice for Animal Welfare Establishments, which was published in September 2020. 

An Animal Welfare Establishment (AWE) is any establishment which takes in and cares (temporarily, permanently, or both) for vulnerable animals.

This could  include establishments known commonly as:

  • animal homes
  • sanctuaries
  • shelters
  • rehoming centres
  • rest homes
  • animal hospitals
  • rehabilitation centres
  • rescue centres, and
  • stray animal facilities

The publication of a voluntary code of practice is primarily aimed at sanctuary owners in Wales. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​The Code of Best Practice explains what Animal Welfare Establishments (AWEs) need to do to meet the standard of care the law requires.

An AWE should not cause any unnecessary suffering to the animals in its care; this could constitute a serious offence under the Act.

The guidance is in place to assist AWEs to follow the law on the welfare of vulnerable animals. Currently in Wales there are no provisions in place for AWEs to be regulated by local authorities in Wales. However, it is important to note that the Code of Best Practice voluntary guidance may be subject to change and AWEs may be regulated by the local authority in the future. 

A copy of the Code of Practice for Animal Welfare Establishments is available to download.

Last Modified: 13/06/2023
For more information contact:


Tel: 01633 647286


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