Information for vets on reporting concerns

Reporting and sharing information on cases of suspected animal cruelty and neglect: Client confidentiality and GDPR

The law, as set out in the Animal Welfare Act, clearly sets out the offences that occur when an animal is allowed to suffer unnecessarily, or where its needs are not being met.

As veterinary surgeons, it is important to understand the law and the role of the vet as set out in the law. 

The principal responsibility of a veterinary surgeon is to protect the health and welfare of the animals under their care. Client confidentiality and GDPR are important, but so is animal welfare law. If there are concerns the owner or keeper of the animal is harming them or is likely to do so, either deliberately or by neglect, then the vet should always consider the animal's welfare first, being sure to take due consideration of other professional responsibilities.

Please note that this advice is produced by the RSPCA and applies to England and Wales. The same RCVS rules apply to vets Scotland but the animal welfare laws are different and you should consult the SSPCA for advice if required.


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