Animal Welfare

Animal welfare

Animal Welfare and Management Strategy 2017-2022

The Animal Welfare and Management Strategy 2017 - 2022 seeks to take a preventative and proactive approach to animal welfare and management. For information please view the strategy (PDF 17.6MB).

Greyhound Welfare and Management

On 23 June 2017, Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay announced the end to the greyhound racing industry in the ACT. It was announced that greyhound racing is to be prohibited in the ACT from 30 June 2018. A government taskforce has been established to assist with the transition.

For information on greyhounds in the ACT and the greyhound re-homing process, please view the Greyhound Welfare and Management factsheet (PDF 97KB) Word version (36KB)

Government responsibilities and the Animal Welfare Act

The government provides minimum standards for the care and use of animals.

Animal Welfare Act 1992 (the Act) regulates offences related to animals such as animal cruelty and is administered by TAMS. TAMS is the government's lead department for animal welfare in the Territory.

The Act allows the Chief Executive to appoint inspectors for the purposes of enforcing the Act. Officers from within the RSPCA have been appointed as inspectors due to their outstanding knowledge of the types of actions or omissions of actions that constitute an offence under the Act.

The Act has a range of enforcement powers to promote and monitor acceptable standards of care, and protect animals from cruelty or welfare offences.

The Act provides the framework for standards of the care and use of animals that achieves a reasonable balance between the welfare of animals and the interests of persons whose livelihood is dependent on animals. It also allows for the effect of advancements in scientific knowledge about animal biology, and changes in community expectations about practices involving animals.

The Animal Welfare Codes of Practice allow the ACT community to identify the applicable animal welfare standards.

A Code of Practice sets the minimum standard acceptable for dealing with, or interacting with, an animal.

View the Animal Welfare Act 1992 and Codes of Practise on the ACT legislation register.

Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines

Nationally consistent standards and guidelines for the welfare of livestock are being developed, cooperatively by government and livestock industries. The welfare standards and guidelines are based on the revision of the current Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals.

The welfare standards and guidelines for livestock aim to streamline livestock welfare legislation in Australia, ensuring that it is both practical for industry and results in improved welfare outcomes.

Australian producers have always been aware of their responsibilities for livestock welfare, however, increasing awareness among consumers is placing significant pressure on our livestock industries to improve animal welfare. The development of welfare standards and guidelines underpins access to overseas markets and reinforces Australia's international leadership in livestock welfare. Without such change Australia risks losing consumer confidence and significant national and international markets.

Further information on the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines is available on the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines website.

Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) is a statutory body established under the Animal Welfare Act 1992 as a Ministerial advisory committee representing community views on animal welfare in the ACT.

Functions of the committee

The specific functions of the Committee are as follows:

  • to advise the Minister about animal welfare legislation
  • to participate in the development of approved codes of practice and mandatory codes of practice
  • to provide advice to other Territory authorities, and to community bodies, about programs for the improvement of community awareness about animal welfare
  • to advise the Minister about any other matter relating to animal welfare
  • to report annually to the Minister on the activities of the committee.

Click here to view Animal Welfare (Advisory Committee) Establishment 2015

AWAC activities and achievements 2014/15

AWAC’s remit is diverse with respect to the provision of advice about animal welfare in the ACT. In 2014/15 this remit included the provision of advice to the Minister for Transport and Municipal Services about animal welfare legislation, including the development of a number of Codes of Practice under the Animal Welfare Act 1992. AWAC was one of the key stakeholders with whom the Minister consulted when considering amendments to the Animal Welfare Act 1992 and Domestic Animals Act 2000, including the introduction of a licensing system for the breeding of cats and dogs.
AWAC also provided advice regarding programs to improve community awareness of animal welfare, including the use and sale of animals for commercial purposes. At the request of the Minister, the Committee provided specific advice on animal welfare issues associated with greyhound racing in the ACT and the use of electronic pet containment systems on domestic animals in the ACT.

Click here to view AWAC Annual Report 2014-2015 (PDF 1MB)

Membership

AWAC members are appointed by the Minister, and must include, but are not limited to, the following persons:

  1. a chair who is not affiliated with an animal welfare or animal user group;
  2. a person who is an authorised officer under the Animal Welfare Act 1992;
  3. a person nominated by the RSPCA ACT;
  4. a person nominated by the Australian Veterinary Association;
  5. a person nominated by the ACT Rural Lessees Association
  6. a person, with experience in teaching or research in the field of animal sciences, nominated by –
    (i)  the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (the CSIRO); or
    (ii) an ACT tertiary institution
  7. a person nominated by a community-based organisation involved in animal welfare, other than the RSPCA ACT;
  8. a person nominated by a community-based organisation involved in native wildlife matters;
  9. a person nominated by an organisation involved in the commercial use of companion animals;
  10. a person nominated by an organisation involved in the recreational or sporting use of animals;
  11. a person nominated by the administrative unit with responsibility for the Nature Conservation Act 2014.

Humane preparation of crustaceans for consumption at home

Crustaceans fact sheet (PDF 383KB) (Word 31KB)

Provides advice on preparing crustaceans for consumption at home.Crustaceans must be chilled to the point of insensitivity (unconsciousness) prior to being killed. Any other methods of preparing crustaceans for consumption are considered unacceptable and should not be used.

Puppy and kitten farm legislation

Legislation to outlaw puppy and kitten farms in the ACT aims to prevent breeders from intensively breeding female cats and dogs for the local pet market.

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.