The main intention of APGAW is to keep MPs and Peers informed about animal welfare issues. Regular meetings and events provide an opportunity for those with a common interest in animal welfare to meet and debate their views and the views of others. APGAW also sets up working groups to investigate and report on areas of concern to the group.
The group owes much of its success to Dame Janet Fookes and Roger Gale MP (both Conservatives), who tirelessly worked hard to establish the group. From 1997 until 2005 Ian Cawsey MP (Labour) Chaired the Group, while from June 2005 to May 2010, Eric Martlew MP (Labour) took on the role. In July 2010 Neil Parish (Conservative) was appointed chairman.
All-party groups are relatively informal committees compared with official committees of the House. However, their success at raising issues and awareness in both the UK Parliament and Europe is recognised by most NGOs.
Group activities range from informal gatherings such as receptions to formal presentations by organisations at meetings, letter writing, tabling Early Day Motions and Parliamentary Questions. APGAW has also in the past organised visits to animal establishments and written and commissioned reports.