• What are the activities of an animal welfare charity?

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    An animal welfare charity's principal activity must be either or both of:

    • providing short-term direct care of the animals
    • rehabilitating the animals that are orphaned, sick or injured.

    Such care and rehabilitation can cover a broad range of activities that are not limited to veterinary services.

    Principal activity

    An animal welfare charity's principal activity must be either or both of the following:

    • providing short-term direct care to animals (but not only native wildlife) that have been lost, mistreated or are without owners
    • rehabilitating orphaned, sick or injured animals (but not only native wildlife) that have been lost, mistreated or are without owners.

    If one or both of these are the charitable institution's sole activity, it will qualify as an animal welfare charity. If not, at least one of these activities must outweigh all of the charity's other activities.

    Examples of secondary activities undertaken by animal welfare charities can include providing veterinary services for pets and working animals, promoting the prevention of cruelty to animals and operating boarding kennels.

    To determine the principal activity, you will have to take into account various factors including the involvement of staff and volunteers, the numbers and types of services provided, expenditure, and the use of facilities and resources.

    Short-term direct care

    There are several examples of what could qualify as short term direct care. These are:

    • veterinary services for animals' injuries and illnesses
    • recovery, first aid and transport of injured animals
    • washing and grooming lost animals and ridding them of fleas and ticks
    • feeding and sheltering animals in the short term while their owners are contacted or new homes are found.

    If animals are not recovering from injury or sickness and are not in need of rehabilitation, ongoing care for them will not qualify.

    Rehabilitation

    Rehabilitation varies with the needs and condition of the animals that are orphaned, sick or injured but includes:

    • training an orphaned animal to interact safely with humans
    • providing care to return animals to health
    • training injured animals to walk and eat again.

    Animals that have received short-term direct care can receive the rehabilitation services.

    Care provided after the animals have been rehabilitated does not qualify.

    Activities or organisations that do not qualify are:

    • lobbying and public education activities
    • breeding and showing activities
    • training veterinarians, veterinary nurses and animal carers
    • organisations such as nature reserves, animal sanctuaries and zoos.
      Last modified: 12 Oct 2016QC 26500