Define: Animals Of A Base Nature

Animals Of A Base Nature
Animals Of A Base Nature
Quick Summary of Animals Of A Base Nature

“Animals of a Base Nature” is a legal term used to describe certain types of animals that are considered inherently dangerous or prone to aggressive behaviour. This term is often used in the context of tort law, specifically in cases involving animal attacks or injuries caused by animals.

The concept of “Animals of a Base Nature” is based on the principle that owners or keepers of such animals have a higher duty of care to prevent harm to others. This means that if an owner or keeper of an animal of a base nature fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm, they may be held liable for any injuries or damages caused by the animal.

The determination of whether an animal falls under the category of “Animals of a Base Nature” is typically made on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration factors such as the species, breed, and individual characteristics of the animal. Animals commonly associated with this term include certain dog breeds known for their aggressive tendencies, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers.

In legal proceedings involving animals of a base nature, the burden of proof is generally on the plaintiff to establish that the animal in question falls under this category and that the owner or keeper failed to exercise reasonable care. This may involve presenting evidence of prior aggressive behaviour, inadequate containment measures, or other factors that demonstrate the animal’s dangerous propensities.

It is important to note that laws and regulations regarding animals of a base nature may vary between jurisdictions. Therefore, it is advisable to consult local laws and seek legal advice specific to the relevant jurisdiction when dealing with cases involving animals of a base nature.

What is the dictionary definition of Animals Of A Base Nature?
Dictionary Definition of Animals Of A Base Nature

Animals Of A Base Nature refers to individuals or groups of living beings that exhibit behaviours or characteristics that are considered primitive, instinctual, or lacking in moral or ethical values. These animals are often driven by basic survival instincts, aggression, or self-interest and may engage in predatory or violent behaviours without consideration for the well-being of others. The term can be used metaphorically to describe humans or human-like entities that display similar base or uncivilised traits.

Full Definition Of Animals Of A Base Nature

The concept of “animals of a base nature” refers to creatures that, by their inherent characteristics, are considered wild and dangerous. This classification carries significant legal implications in various contexts, including liability for harm, ownership rights, and regulatory compliance. In British law, understanding the treatment of these animals is crucial for stakeholders ranging from pet owners and farmers to law enforcement and wildlife conservationists. This overview delves into the legal definitions, historical background, relevant legislation, and case law to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

Historical Background

The legal treatment of animals in British law has evolved over centuries, influenced by societal attitudes, scientific understanding, and judicial interpretations. Historically, the distinction between domesticated animals and wild animals was crucial in determining liability and ownership.

  • Domesticated Animals: These are animals that have been tamed and kept by humans for various purposes, such as livestock, pets, or working animals. Examples include cows, dogs, and horses.
  • Wild Animals: These are animals that live independently of human intervention. Within this category, “animals of a base nature” are considered inherently dangerous due to their natural instincts and behaviours.

Early Common Law

In early common law, the principle of strict liability applied to owners of wild animals. This meant that if a wild animal caused harm, the owner was automatically liable, regardless of the precautions taken. The rationale was that wild animals posed an inherent risk that could not be entirely mitigated by human intervention.

Legal Definitions

The term “animals of a base nature” is not explicitly defined in modern statutes, but it is closely related to the legal concepts of “dangerous wild animals” and “species of special concern.”

  • Dangerous Wild Animals: Under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, certain species are classified as dangerous due to their potential to cause harm to humans or other animals. This Act requires owners to obtain a license and meet specific conditions to keep such animals.
  • Species of Special Concern: These are species that, while not necessarily dangerous to humans, require special regulatory attention due to their ecological impact or conservation status.

Relevant Legislation

Several key pieces of legislation govern the treatment and management of animals considered of a base nature in the UK.

Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 is the primary legislation addressing the keeping of dangerous animals. Key provisions include:

  • Licensing Requirements: Owners must obtain a license from the local authority, which is granted only if specific conditions are met regarding the animal’s accommodation, welfare, and safety measures.
  • Inspections and Compliance: Local authorities have the power to inspect premises and ensure compliance with the Act. Non-compliance can result in the revocation of the license and confiscation of the animal.
  • Public Safety: The Act emphasizes the need to protect public safety by regulating the conditions under which dangerous wild animals are kept.

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides broader protection for wild animals and their habitats, addressing issues related to conservation and ecological impact.

  • Protection of Species: The Act lists species that are protected from hunting, capture, and trade. This includes many species that could be considered of a base nature.
  • Habitat Conservation: Provisions for the conservation of habitats critical to the survival of protected species are also included.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

While primarily focused on the welfare of domesticated animals, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 also has implications for the treatment of wild animals in captivity.

  • Duty of Care: Owners and keepers have a legal duty to ensure the welfare of animals under their care, which includes providing a suitable environment, diet, and opportunities to exhibit natural behaviors.
  • Enforcement and Penalties: The Act grants authorities the power to enforce welfare standards and impose penalties for non-compliance.

Case Law

Judicial decisions have played a significant role in shaping the legal landscape regarding animals of a base nature. Key cases illustrate how courts interpret and apply the relevant laws.

Behrens v Bertram Mills Circus Ltd (1957)

In this case, the plaintiff was injured by an elephant during a circus performance. The court held that the circus operators were strictly liable for the harm caused, emphasizing the inherent danger posed by wild animals, regardless of the precautions taken.

Mirvahedy v Henley (2003)

This case involved a horse that escaped from a field and caused a road accident. The House of Lords held that the owners were strictly liable for the damage caused by the horse, reaffirming the principle that owners of animals likely to cause harm if they escape must take full responsibility.

Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement

Ensuring compliance with the laws governing animals of a base nature involves multiple stakeholders, including local authorities, animal welfare organizations, and law enforcement agencies.

  • Local Authorities: Responsible for issuing licenses, conducting inspections, and ensuring compliance with the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
  • Animal Welfare Organizations: Play a crucial role in monitoring the welfare of animals in captivity and advocating for stronger protections.
  • Law Enforcement Agencies: Handle cases of illegal possession, trade, and mistreatment of dangerous wild animals.

Ownership and Liability

The ownership of animals of a base nature carries significant legal responsibilities and liabilities. Owners must be aware of the stringent requirements and potential consequences of non-compliance.

Licensing and Permits

Owning a dangerous wild animal requires obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, which involve meeting specific criteria and undergoing regular inspections.

  • Application Process: Involves submitting detailed information about the animal, its housing, and safety measures.
  • Inspections: Regular inspections by local authorities to ensure ongoing compliance with licensing conditions.

Liability for Harm

Owners of animals of a base nature are subject to strict liability for any harm caused by the animal. This legal principle means that owners are responsible for damages regardless of fault or negligence.

  • Strict Liability: Applies to harm caused to people, property, and other animals.
  • Defences: Limited defences are available, such as proving the harm was caused by the victim’s intentional provocation of the animal.

Public Safety and Welfare Concerns

Public safety is a primary concern in the regulation of animals of a base nature. The potential for these animals to cause harm necessitates stringent controls and oversight.

Risk Assessment and Mitigation

Owners must conduct thorough risk assessments and implement measures to mitigate the potential dangers posed by their animals.

  • Safety Measures: Secure enclosures, barriers, and signage to prevent accidental contact.
  • Emergency Plans: Preparedness for emergencies, such as escapes or attacks, including notifying authorities and taking immediate action to contain the situation.

Welfare Standards

Ensuring the welfare of animals of a base nature is also a critical aspect of legal compliance. Poor welfare conditions can lead to behavioral issues that increase the risk of harm.

  • Housing and Environment: Providing a suitable environment that meets the animal’s physical and psychological needs.
  • Veterinary Care: Regular health checks and medical care to ensure the animal’s well-being.

International Considerations

The regulation of animals of a base nature is not limited to domestic law; international agreements and conventions also play a role.

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

CITES regulates the international trade in endangered species, including many animals considered of a base nature.

  • Import/Export Permits: Required for trading in listed species, ensuring that trade does not threaten their survival.
  • Enforcement: National authorities are responsible for enforcing CITES regulations and preventing illegal trade.

EU Regulations

As a former member of the European Union, the UK has been influenced by EU regulations on wildlife protection and trade. Post-Brexit, the UK continues to align with many of these standards through domestic legislation.

Ethical Considerations

The ethical implications of keeping and regulating animals of a base nature are an ongoing debate, balancing human interests with animal welfare and conservation concerns.

  • Animal Rights: Advocates argue for the intrinsic value of animals and the need for stronger protections against exploitation and harm.
  • Conservation: Balancing the need to protect species and their habitats with human activities that may pose risks to their survival.


The legal framework surrounding animals of a base nature in British law is complex, reflecting the inherent dangers and ethical considerations associated with these creatures. From historical principles of strict liability to modern regulatory mechanisms, the law seeks to balance public safety, animal welfare, and conservation goals. Understanding these legal dimensions is essential for stakeholders involved in the ownership, regulation, and protection of these animals.


  • Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • Case Law: Behrens v Bertram Mills Circus Ltd (1957), Mirvahedy v Henley (2003)
  • CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 7th June 2024.

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