The Northern Ireland Companion Animal Welfare Group (NICAWG) launched its eight new priorities for improving animal welfare legislation in Northern Ireland, at an event hosted by John Blair MLA.

The event heard from speakers including David Bowles from the RSPCA and Marina Fidler, Co-Founder of MADRA Dog Rescue.

The coalition has identified eight priority areas that need to be actioned by the Northern Ireland Assembly in :

  1. Robust legislation to address the third-party sale of puppies and kittens
  2. Regulation of breeding establishments
  3. Licensing of activities involving animals e.g., Rehoming, Boarding, Walking, Doggy-Daycare and Grooming.
  4. Regulation of pounds and kennelling facilities
  5. Improved enforcement including a review and update of the Animal Welfare Act with more resources dedicated to local Councils so they can better respond to animal welfare concerns
  6. Compulsory microchipping of cats
  7. Responsible pet ownership with animal welfare to be included as a mainstream topic in the National Curriculum
  8. Seized animals and rehoming timeframes to enable an animal to be rehomed after 21 days.

Click here to download NICAWG Policy Priorities.


Established in 2019, the group is a coalition of the USPCA, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, Assisi, Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary and PDSA which brings together specific expertise and focus, with the aim of improving the welfare of companion animal welfare across Northern Ireland.