Start your research...
There are a total of 12 briefings for schools taking part in RSPCA's Animal Welfare: The Great Debate, providing a starting point for the research you will need to do into the subject, to ensure your team are ready for the debate!
Use the links below to download briefings for different topics:
(These documents are also available in Welsh language. Please see our Wales Briefings)
Animal welfare in education
Some people and organisations think that animal welfare should be taught in schools. Other people think that animal welfare should be taught at home and schools should be prioritising subjects such as maths and science.
Breed specific legislation
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) was introduced 27 years ago as part of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to restrict the ownership of certain types of dogs which are deemed to be dangerous to people.
Explore the issues surrounding BSL and the arguments for and against repealing it (PDF 213 KB)
Introducing a license to own a dog
Dog licensing requires owners to pay a fee to keep a dog. Having a licence for a dog normally requires owners to register and keep up to date records of the identities and contact details of their dogs and themselves. Other actions may also be required e.g. vaccinations.
Research the reasons for and against the introduction of dog licensing (PDF 216 KB)
Restrictions on fireworks and sky lanterns
Fireworks are very popular across England and Wales, and enjoyed throughout the year. However, they can have a big impact on public safety and animal welfare, and many animals are frightened by them.
Research the issues around fireworks and sky lanterns (PDF 215 KB)
Hunting with dogs
The UK Parliament passed the Hunting Act in 2004 which banned the use of hunting with dogs across England and Wales. The Act has been controversial with many people both for and against the ban being in place.
Research the arguments for and against keeping the ban on hunting with dogs (PDF 213KB)
Penalties for animal cruelty
Currently the maximum penalty for people convicted of animal cruelty offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is six months in prison and an unlimited fine. Offenders can also be banned from keeping animals.
Research the considerations for increasing penalties for animal cruelty (PDF 213KB)
Keeping primates as pets
In the UK if you want to keep certain types of primates you have to have a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. however there are primates that can be kept and bred without a licence.
Research the issues around keeping primates as pets (PDF 213KB)
Regulating animal welfare sanctuaries
Pets, farm animals and wildlife are regularly rescued and rehabilitated by animal welfare charities and organisations across the country. There are no government facilities that do this type of work, so animals in need are often left at the mercy of these organisations. Sanctuaries are not currently required to have a licence to operate and they are not inspected by their local council or any other official body.
Research whether animal welfare 'sanctuaries' require regulation (PDF 217KB)
Sentience in crustaceans
Recent research strongly suggests crabs and lobsters are sentient beings, just like other animals. This means they experience positive or negative feelings, such as pleasure or pain. People used to think that only vertebrates (animals with a backbone) such as mammals and birds were capable of having these experiences - which is why only they are protected by animal welfare law.
Research legal protection for crabs and lobsters (PDF 216KB)
Animals being used in service
Many animals are used in a variety of ways to help humans. These animals go through rigorous selection, training and testing over many months and years to ensure they can do their job.
Research the arguments for and against animals being used in service (PDF 215KB)
Social media and animal welfare
Social media is now a dominant part of people¿s lives, and for many acts as a primary source of news and entertainment. With approximately half of all households in the UK owning a pet, it is unsurprising that posting content online about animals is something many people enjoy.
Research the arguments for and against social media being good for animals and their welfare (PDF 213KB)
Support for vulnerable pet owners
People who own pets can face unforeseen circumstances which threatens the wellbeing of their beloved pet - such as an accident or ill health (for the pet or the owner), as well as other tragic circumstances such as domestic abuse where the animal can also be threatened or harmed and even where the owner escapes the abuse, there may be difficulties in finding safe places that will also take pets.
Research the arguments for and against support for vulnerable pet owners (PDF 214KB)