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2003

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

SENATE

NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE BILL 2003

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM


(Circulated by authority of the Leader of the Australian Democrats,


Senator Andrew Bartlett)

NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE BILL 2003



General Outline


Objectives of the legislation

The primary objective of the Bill is to identify animal welfare as a national issue of concern, and to institute comprehensive and proactive legislation that promotes the responsible care and use of animals and strives to protect animals from acts of cruelty.


The Bill will provide the means by which the care and use of animals can be coordinated, monitored and reviewed nationally, with the establishment of a National Animal Welfare Authority that has the power to do whatever is necessary for or in connection with, or reasonably incidental to, the performance of its functions. In providing such means, the Bill aims to:


  1. achieve a reasonable balance between the welfare needs of animals and the interests of people who use animals for a livelihood;

  2. reflect human community attitudes and expectations as to how animals should be treated;

  3. acknowledge advances in the scientific knowledge of animal biology, psychology and behaviour.

The Bill also seeks to regulate the use of animals for all private, commercial, institutional, educational and government research and experimentation to ensure the use of animals for such purposes are accountable, open, ethical, humane and responsible.


Reasons for the Bill

This Bill, in essence, is an extension of the extraordinary work of the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare. The Bill expands on the legislative reforms established by that Committee, and brings into focus the major advances in our knowledge and understanding of animal biology, psychology and behaviour.


In 1982, the then Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Don Chipp, Senator to Victoria, initiated and founded the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare, with Senator George Georges, ALP Senator to Queensland, in the chair—a role he accomplished with distinction.
Over the course of the Committee’s lifetime, it pursued significant and varied animal welfare issues and concerns under its terms of reference.
The committee produced 10 substantiative reports during its 8 years. The more influential of these reports were: Export of Live Sheep from Australia (1985), Dolphins and Whales in Captivity (1985), Animal Experimentation (1989), and Intensive Livestock Production (1990). The Australian Democrats acknowledge that the gains made, at this time, were substantial, but twenty years on it’s clear that animal welfare needs to, once again, become a Commonwealth priority. At worst, animal welfare, as an issue, needs to be reviewed; at best it needs its own legislation.

Animal welfare legislation has been in existence, in one form or other, at a state and territorial level for many decades. Changes, progress and review of state and territorial animal welfare legislation have been very slow, indeed. It took Queensland 15 years to finalise its amendments to its 75-year-old legislation, and now it has the most progressive legislation in Australia.

The vagaries of each state’s and territory’s animal welfare legislation, their application and implication make it virtually impossible for there to be any expeditious advancements in animal health, commercial productivity and economic growth—a situation that could be improved immeasurably through the introduction of a national approach on animal welfare. Diverse and incongruent state and territorial legislation minimise the opportunity for creating binding codes and practices, reduce knowledge-sharing, render comprehensive monitoring impossible, ensure uniform standards remain anything but, and put comparative state-by-state reviews out of the question. But the greatest loss is in the area of statistical gathering, for without this there will never be a national database on animal experimentation, and neither will it be possible to establish a national tissue bank.

Much is jeopardised for the sake of maintaining state and territorial political and administrative integrity. Despite most states and territories having revised or enacted their respective animal welfare legislation, it largely remains reactive. Emphasis is on punishing acts of cruelty to animals after the event rather than striving to prevent them.



State and Territorial Animal Welfare Legislation

The current animal welfare legislation in the Australian states and territories is as follows:

ACT Animal Welfare Act 1992

NT Animal Welfare Act 1999

NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979

QLD Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

SA Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985

TAS Animal Welfare Act 1993

VIC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

WA Animal Welfare Act 2002

NSW has the oldest legislation of the states and territories—over twenty years old—it is in desperate need of a review and overhaul, and highlights the need for a national approach.

Individual state and territory legislation is further complicated by the fact that their animal welfare legislation has a large criminal component within it but, strangely, it is the only legislation that is not driven by their respective state or territory police forces. Instead, we see animal welfare legislation largely being enforced by the RSPCA Inspectorate, with some states and territories also granting special constable status to officers within a state Department of Primary Industries or an equivalent.

Despite growing community interest and concern for animals, state and territorial governments largely continue to ignore or push aside animal welfare legislation. It is only in recent years that these governments have started to recognise their responsibilities to animals, and that it needs to be broader than just enforcement.

Enforcement

The RSPCA Inspectorate currently consists of approximately 75 full-time and 75 honorary or part-time inspectors Australia-wide. A number that is surely inadequate considering Australia’s extraordinarily high number of domestic animals and production livestock, and knowing that Australia is a vast and challenging continent at the best of times—least of all when there are periods of drought and floods or a combination of both.

Unremittent drought together with the associated economic down turn has put enormous and unbearable pressures on many rural and regional communities in recent times. This has, in turn, had dire consequences for some domestic animals and production livestock. It is obviously difficult to provide feed, shelter, comfort and protection in an emotionally and financially impoverished community.

The physical conditions exacerbate a difficult situation; some previously competent and caring individuals suddenly find themselves incapable of providing the necessities to care, protect and sustain their and their family’s life, let alone protect and care for their animals, which results in unintentional neglect. Others, in contrast, consciously and maliciously seek to unburden their emotional and financial torment by inflicting cruelties and, sometimes, death upon an animal, whether it be their own, someone else’s or wildlife. And it is not only confined to regional and rural areas; the incidents and gravity of animal abuse incidents in metropolitan areas are, also, on the increase.

The application and enforcement of animal welfare legislation is vitally important in the protection and caring of animals. But the application and enforcement, if and when these incidents are reported, does vary significantly. Variation in the application of animal welfare legislation largely comes down to RSPCA inspectors, Department of Primary Industry (DPI) officers and special constables pursuing enforcement in accordance with their own individual state and territorial legislation. And some leave much to be desired.



ACT

The Animal Welfare Act 1992 provides for inspectors to be appointed in the public service, including the person holding the office of Animal Welfare Authority and his/her delegates, police officers, and “…anyone else appointed in writing by the chief executive.” It also provides for public servants who are a veterinary surgeon to be “authorised officers”.

The RSPCA (ACT) Inc has an inspectorate service to ensure community compliance with the Animal Welfare Act 1992. The Act gives RSPCA inspectors the power, when necessary, to enter premises, seize and animal and lay charges on a person which could result in fines up to $10,000, a year’s imprisonment, or both. The RSPCA receives funding from the ACT Government to enforce the Animal Welfare Act 1992 on its behalf.

In 2002 funding was approximately $145 000, or 12% of the RSPCA budget.



NT

Animal welfare inspectors are appointed under the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and include RSPCA representatives, members of the Northern Territory Police Force, and Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development stock inspectors and veterinarians. The RSPCA receives a grant of $55 000 from the Territory Government.



NSW

RSPCA NSW is named in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 as a charitable organisation, which may then be approved for law enforcement purposes by its officers. In each of the last two years, RSPCA NSW has received a grant of $211 000 for its inspection service.



QLD

After 75 years of enforcing the Animals Protection Act, the RSPCA now continues its enforcement role under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001. RSPCA inspectors and a taskforce of DPI inspectors have powers to investigate and prosecute in suspected cases of animal cruelty.

The Animals Protection Act was created in 1925 by the Queensland legislature, and RSPCA inspectors became responsible for investigating breaches of and enforcing the Act. For many years, the Inspectorate was assisted by ‘honorary inspectors’, volunteers who dedicated much of their lives to investigating suspected cases of cruelty. Honorary inspectors no longer operate in Queensland under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

SA

All inspectors are nominated by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.A.) and appointed by the Minister. The annual payment to the RSPCA for services under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985 is about $500 000.

Last year the total budget for animal welfare services by the Department for Environment and Heritage, including public awareness and information services relating to animal welfare, the provision of external advisory services, and administration and enforcement of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1985, was $864 000.

TAS

The Minister may appoint officers who have powers of entry and enforcement under the Animal Welfare Act 1993, or inspectors for animal research institutes. Codes of Practice apply to animal research, and animal welfare standards apply generally.



VIC

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 identifies inspectors as being full-time officers from the RSPCA who have been approved by the Minister, with additional support coming from police officers and other Ministerial approved persons. In the last two years the Inspectorate has received grants of $100 000 p.a., now representing 6% of the cost of the Inspectorate, compared to 28% in 1985/1986.

WA

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2002, the Director General is to appoint as general inspectors those members of the staff of the RSPCA nominated by the RSPCA, as well as various members of the public service. Codes of practice may be made by regulation. The Western Australian animal welfare codes of practice are based on national codes.

All of these codes have been endorsed and are supported by the relevant livestock industries in Western Australia.

The RSPCA-WA employs nine full-time RSPCA Inspectors, five in the metropolitan area and three based in country centres. The Society also has the assistance of some 47 Shire Rangers around the State who have been appointed as agents and Special Constables for the RSPCA. There is no State Government subsidy for the RSPCA-WA.

Codes of Practice

There are 21 Australian Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, prepared by the Animal Welfare Committee, within the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ) system, and one specifically aimed at animal experimentation—the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, published by the National Health and Medical Research Council.


Most states have implemented the model codes either by adopting them outright or by adopting a local version of them; all of the states also have codes that reflect local fauna and industries within their jurisdictions.


  1. The ACT has 18 codes, of which the only national code is the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. All the others are ACT initiated, though they cover similar topics to the model codes and may in large part be identical.



  1. In the Northern Territory there are, currently, 6 codes based on the model codes, but more are likely following completion of a review.



  1. New South Wales has 19 codes, 8 of which are the model codes.



  1. Queensland has 20 codes, with 18 of them being the model codes.



  1. South Australia, also, has 20 codes, of which 17 are the model codes.



  1. Tasmania has 13 codes, 11 of which are based on the model codes, with 2 developed locally.



  1. Victoria has 33 codes, 15 of which are based on the model codes.



  1. Western Australia has 23 codes, with16 based on the model codes.

Adoption or modification of one or more of the Australian Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals by the state and territory governments could be seen as a willingness by the states and territories to accept a broad national approach to animal welfare, certainly in relation to livestock and feral livestock. It could be argued that a precedent for a national approach on animal welfare has been established.
National Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals

Animals at Saleyards

Farmed Buffalo

The Camel

Cattle

Land Transport of Cattle



The Farming of Deer

Husbandry of Captive-Bred Emus

Feral Livestock Animals

The Goat


Land Transport of Horses

Pigs


Land Transport of Pigs

Domestic Poultry

Land Transport of Poultry

Intensive Husbandry of Rabbits

Livestock at Slaughtering Establishments

The Sheep

Air Transport of Livestock

Sea Transport of Livestock

Rail Transport of Livestock

Road Transport of Livestock



ACT

Slaugtering livestock

Pet shops

Cattle welfare

Codes of Practice - horse welfare

Bird welfare

Cat welfare - code of practice

Animals in pounds and shelters

Welfare of farmed deer

Humane control of the fox

Codes of practice - dog welfare

Sheep welfare

Welfare of animals - poultry

Saleyards

Goat welfare

Welfare of greyhounds

Pet Grooming

Kangaroo control

Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes

NT

National Model Codes currently applicable to the Northern Territory are:


the model codes on feral animals,

the use of animals for research,

land transport of cattle,

the poultry code,

the livestock code (under the Meat Industry Act), and

the NHMRC code on research use.

Consideration is also being given to the rodeo code, buffaloes and camels—the process is being delayed because the Northern Territory Government is reviewing its Animal Welfare Act.

NSW

Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals in Films and Theatrical Performances, approved on 3 February 1997 by the Animal Welfare Advisory Council.

Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals Used in Rodeo Events, as approved on 30 April 1988 by the Animal Welfare Advisory Council.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (General) Regulation 1996

The following documents, published by the CSIRO, are prescribed as guidelines:

(a) Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—Domestic Poultry (3rd Edition, 1995),

(b) Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—Farmed Buffalo (1995),

(c) Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—Animals at Saleyards (1991),

(d) Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—The Goat (1991),

(e) Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—The Sheep (1991),

(f) Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—The Farming of Deer (1991),

(g) Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals—Cattle (1992),

(h) National Guidelines for Beef Cattle Feedlots in Australia (2nd Edition, 1997).

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Animal Trades) Regulation 1996:

Code of Ethics for the Keeping and Trading of Birds” (3rd edition), published in 1996 by the Associated Birdkeepers of Australia Inc.

The Care and Management of Animals in Pet Shops”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

The Care and Management of Dogs and Cats in Animal Boarding Establishments”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

The Care and Management of Breeding Dogs”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

The Care and Management of Breeding Cats”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

The Care and Management of Animals by Companion Animal Transport Agencies”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

The Care and Management of Animals in Pet Grooming Establishments”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

The Care and Management of Security Dogs”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

The Care and Management of Horses in Riding Centres and Boarding Stables”, published in 1996 by the Department of Agriculture.

QLD



Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2002

Part 1—Compulsory Codes of Practice

1. ‘Queensland code of practice for the welfare of animals in circuses’, published by the department, 2003.

Part 2—Voluntary Codes of Practice

2. ‘Australian code of practice for the welfare of cattle in beef feedlots’, in section 2.2, appendix 2.2A of the ‘National guidelines for beef cattle feedlots in Australia’, 2nd edition, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 1997, SCARM Report No. 47.

3. ‘Australian model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Cattle’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1992, SCA Report Series No. 39.

4. ‘Australian model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Land transport of cattle’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 1999, SCARM Report No. 77.

5. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Animals at saleyards’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1991, SCA Technical Report Series No.31.

6. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Domestic poultry’, 4th edition, prepared for the Primary Industries Standing Committee, published by CSIRO, 2002, SCARM Report No. 83.

7. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Farmed buffalo’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1995, SCARM Report Series No. 52.

8. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Feral livestock animals: Destruction or capture handling and marketing’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1991, SCA Technical Report Series No. 34.

9. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Husbandry of captive-bred emus’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 1999, SCARM Report No. 69.

10. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Intensive husbandry of rabbits’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1991, SCA Technical Report Series No. 33.

11. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Land transport of horses’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resources Management, published by CSIRO, 1998, SCARM Report No. 62.

12. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Land transport of pigs’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 1997, SCARM Report No. 63.

13. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Land transport of poultry’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 1998, SCARM Report No. 65.

14. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Livestock at slaughtering establishments’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 2001, SCARM Report No. 79.

15. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—Pigs’, 2nd edition, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 1998, SCARM Report No. 66.

16. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—The camel (Camelus dromedarius)’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, published by CSIRO, 1997, SCARM Report No. 61.

17. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—The farming of deer’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1991, SCA Technical Report Series No. 30.

18. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—The farming of ostriches’, prepared for the Primary Industries Standing Committee, unpublished.

19. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—The goat’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1991, SCA Technical Report Series No. 32.

20. ‘Model code of practice for the welfare of animals—The sheep’, prepared for the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management, Animal Health Committee, published by CSIRO, 1991, SCARM Report Series No. 29.

SA



Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations (No. 2) Regs 2000, Schedule 2:

South Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Management of Animals in the Pet Trade, Animal Welfare Unit, Department of Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs (1999).

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, The Destruction or Capture, Handling and Marketing of Feral Livestock Animals, Australian Agricultural Council (1991), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Animals at Saleyards, Australian Agricultural Council (1991), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Livestock and Poultry at Slaughtering Establishments (Abattoirs, Slaughterhouses and Knackeries), Australian Agricultural Council (1986), as amended from time to time.

South Australian Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals in Circuses, Office of Animal Welfare, Department for Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs (1997).

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Air Transport of Livestock Australian Agricultural Council (1986), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Sea Transport of Livestock Australian Agricultural Council (1987), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, The Camel, Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (1997), as amended from time to time.

South Australian Code of Practice for the Husbandry of Captive Birds, Office of Animal Welfare, Department of Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs (1999).

Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Cattle, Australian Agricultural Council (1992), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, The Farming of Deer, Australian Agricultural Council (1991), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Intensive Husbandry of Rabbits, Australian Agricultural Council (1991), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, The Goat, Australian Agricultural Council (1991), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Land Transport of Horses Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (1998), as amended from time to time.

Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Road Transport of Livestock, Australian Agricultural Council (1983, see Gazette 24 April 1986 p. 1035), as amended from time to time.

Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Rail Transport of Livestock, Australian Agricultural Council (1983, see Gazette 24 April 1986 p. 1051), as amended from time to time.

Australian Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, The Pig, Australian Agricultural Council (1983, see Gazette 24 April 1986 p. 1017), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Land Transport of Pigs, Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (1997), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, Land Transport of Poultry, Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (1998), as amended from time to time.

Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals, The Sheep, Australian Agricultural Council (1991), as amended from time to time.

TAS



Tasmanian Animal Welfare Standards

Animal Welfare Standard No 1 - Sheep

Animal Welfare Standard No 2 - Cattle

Animal Welfare Standard No 3 - Deer

Animal Welfare Standard No 4 - Goats

Animal Welfare Standard No 5 - Pigs

Animal Welfare Standard No 6 - Animals in Saleyards

Animal Welfare Standard No 7 - Road Transport of Livestock

Animal Welfare Standard No 8 - Transport of Livestock across Bass Strait

Animal Welfare Standard No 9 - Emus

Animal Welfare Standard No 10 - SCARM Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry (3rd Edition)

Animal Welfare Standard No 11 - Trade and Transport of Calves including Bobby Calves

Animal Welfare Standard No 13 - Code of Practice for Capture, Handling, Transport and Slaughter of Brush-tail Possums

Draft Animal Welfare Standard for the Commercial & Recreational Hunting of Wallabies in Tasmania

VIC

Birds: Code of practice for the housing of cage birds


Boarding establishments for cats and dogs: Code of practice for the operation of boarding establishments


Breeding and rearing cats and dogs: Code of practice for the operation of breeding and rearing establishments


Cattle: Code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of cattle

Deer: Code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of deer

Dogs: Code of practice for the debarking of dogs

Code of practice for the operation of dog training establishments

Emus: Code of practice for the husbandry of captive emus


Exhibition of animals: Code of practice for the public display and exhibition of animals


Film animals: Code of practice for the welfare of film animals


Goats: Code of practice for the welfare of goats


Horses: Code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of horses

Code of practice for the welfare of horses competing at bush races

Code of practice for the land transport of horses

Code of practice for the welfare of horses at horse hire establishments

Hunting: Code of practice for the welfare of animals in hunting


Pet shops: Code of practice for the operation of pet shops


Pigs: Code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of pigs

Code of practice for the land transport of pigs

Poultry: Code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of poultry

Code of practice for the land transport of poultry

Rabbits: Code of practice for the intensive husbandry of rabbits


Rodeos: Code of practice for the welfare of rodeo and rodeo school livestock


Saleyards: Code of practice for the welfare of animals at saleyards


Scientific procedures:

Code of practice for the use of animals from municipal pounds in scientific procedures.

Code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific procedures Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes


Sheep: Code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of sheep


Shelters and pounds for dogs and cats: Code of practice for the management of dogs and cats in shelters and pounds


Traps: Code of practice for the use of small steel-jawed traps


Tethering animals: Code of practice for the tethering of animals


Transportation (see horses, pigs, poultry for specific codes): Code of practice for the welfare of animals during transportation


Wildlife: Code of practice for the welfare of wildlife during rehabilitation



WA

Australian Rules of Racing

Buffalo: Code of practice for farmed buffalo in Western Australia

Camels: Code of practice for camels in Western Australia

Cattle: Code of practice for cattle in Western Australia

Cattle transportation: Code of practice for the transportation of cattle in Western Australia

Circuses: Code of practice for the conduct of circuses in Western Australia

Deer: Code of practice for farming deer in Western Australia

Emus: Code of practice for keeping emus in Western Australia

Exhibited Animals: Code of practice for exhibited animals in Western Australia

Feral animals: Code of practice for the capture and marketing of feral animals in Western Australia

Goats: Code of practice for goats in Western Australia

Horse transportation: Code of practice for the transportation of horses in Western Australia

Pigs: Code of practice for pigs in Western Australia

Pig transportation: Code of practice for the transportation of pigs in Western Australia

Pigeons: Code of practice for pigeon keeping and racing in Western Australia

Poultry: Code of practice for poultry in Western Australia

Poultry transportation: Code of practice for the transportation of poultry in Western Australia

Rabbits: Code of practice for keeping rabbits in Western Australia

Rodeos: Code of practice for the conduct of rodeos in Western Australia

Rules of Harness Racing 1999

Saleyards: Code of practice for animals at saleyards in Western Australia

Sheep: Code of practice for sheep in Western Australia

Sheep transportation: Code of practice for the transportation of sheep in Western Australia

Clearly there is a need for proactive intervention—and it is the belief of the Australian Democrats that this is best provided at a national level.

A national approach on animal welfare needed

Commonwealth legislation would ensure consistency, expediency and efficiency. For the first time, states and territories would be able to engage in mutually beneficial transactions that would have an immediate impact on Australia’s ever expanding international trade and treaties involving domestic, livestock and wildlife. Wherever there are inconsistencies there are unnecessary complications, confusion, duplications and inefficiencies, none of which are conducive to improved productivity and economic growth.


The Australian Democrats’ National Animal Welfare Bill 2003 would provide all those involved with animals and animal by-products a substantial foundation on which to build a workable and flexible approach to animal welfare nationally.
On a state and territorial level, the Bill would operate concurrently with state and territorial laws, but where the state or territory laws were deemed more stringent by the Commonwealth Minister, those provisions would prevail over those of the Bill.
In theory, these measures would make it easier for the Bill to leap the procedural and bureaucratic barrier, particularly if support for the establishment of the National Animal Welfare Authority is forthcoming—a regulatory authority with overarching responsibility for the legislation, its application and implication.
National Animal Welfare Authority

The Authority should comprise 13 members—all of whom are to be appointed by the Minister. Three members will represent the Commonwealth; 2 members will represent commercial producers or users of animals and animal products (one intensive and one extensive); 2 members will represent animal welfare NGOs; 2 members will represent community groups; and 4 other members, and of which 2 of whom will be scientists; and 1 an animal ethicist.


The functions and powers of the National Animal Welfare Authority are:

  1. the coordination, monitoring and review of Commonwealth responsibilities for animal welfare;

  1. functions and powers conferred on it by or under the Act (other than this section);

  1. functions and powers conferred on it by or under other laws of the Commonwealth;

  1. functions and powers that are, with the consent of the Ministerial Council, conferred on the Authority by writing signed by the Minister.

It would also have the power to ‘do whatever is necessary for or in connection with, or reasonably incidental to, the performance of its functions’ but it must perform its functions and exercise its powers in accordance with the Agreement, and is to comply in all aspects with the provisions of that Agreement. As is appropriate for the success of such an Authority, it would have far-reaching functions and powers.


National Animal Welfare Authority Inspectorate

The most invaluable undertaking of the Authority would be the appointment of national animal inspectors, many of whom would be drawn from the existing RSPCA inspectorate and the officers within the various Departments of Agriculture and Primary Industries, and external to these entities, such as Animal Liberation. The appointment of animal inspectors, with functions and powers that go across state and territorial borders, ensures the Bill is not a toothless tiger. Each and every one of the inspectors would have the necessary means by which they could circumvent out-of-date and irrelevant legal obstacles. The focus of the Bill, the Authority and the inspectors is animals—their welfare, protection and rights.


Authority inspectors require the following powers and need to exercise these powers to fulfil the requirements under the Act:


  1. Inspectors may undertake random inspections of animals;

  1. A person with an animal in their care must permit inspection of the animal as well as of housing, foodstuffs and equipment intended for use with the animal.

  1. The animal keeper must be advised of the inspection before or on the occasion of the visit;

  1. An inspector may:
    (a) inform the animal keeper that he or she has 12 hours in which to take action or their animals will be seized; or
    (b) immediately seize animals; or
    (c) humanely kill an animal, or take any other necessary steps to relieve an animal from suffering; or
    (d) administer analgesics to animals.


Animals used in research and experimentation

Animals used for scientific, educational and research purposes, for example, would benefit greatly from a proactive national approach to animal welfare. Community concerns for animals used in this area are on the increase with the expansion of biotechnology research; and it is incumbent upon the Commonwealth to address these concerns. But aside from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Animal Welfare Code of Conduct, which is only applicable to NHMRC funded projects there is no means by which animals subjected to such use can be readily managed, monitored and reviewed.

The Australian Democrats’ National Animal Welfare Bill 2003 emphasizes the monitoring of all animals used for scientific, educational and research purposes, irrespective of how the research is funded. Much would be achieved by extending the application of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Animal Welfare Code of Conduct—including meeting many of the community’s concerns about the issues of transparency and accountability in research and experimentation.

Currently, much of the research involving animals used for scientific and research purposes, falls under the ‘commercial in confidence’ category, which denies the community the opportunity to scrutinise the processes and practices employed. The Australian Democrats’ National Animal Welfare Bill 2003 seeks to address these issues and provides an appropriate legislative framework for investigating and dealing with this and other animal welfare issues at a national level.



Duty of care

The Bill gives consideration to: breach of duty of care, cruelty offences, prohibited conduct (including unreasonable abandonment, prohibited release, baits or harmful substances, and debarking operations), prohibited events (such as cockfights and dogfights), regulated conduct (such as obligation to exercise closely confined dogs, and animals used to feed another animal), live exports (including a limit on live exports, duties of the veterinary surgeons and liability), import of animal products, labelling of animal products, animals used for experimental purposes (including establishment of a data bank, licences, acquisition of animals for research and pain management), funding for animal research, and the administrative provisions relating to the Authority administration and staff.


Animal databanks

The legislation seeks to establish a databank of all experiments using animals carried out in both Australia and overseas, and another dedicated to alternatives to animal research and experimentation.


Recognition of animals contribution and sacrifice

This legislation is about recognising the importance, contribution and sacrifice of animals; not one of us can do without them. We are beholden to them, just as they are to us, but we, as a species, unlike them, are in a position of power and influence. Let’s use that power and influence wisely, let’s provide animals with greater protection and care for the duration of their lives.


The successful passage of the Australian Democrats’ legislation would demonstrate to the Australian community and our international trading partners that this country and its peoples are committed to meeting community and market obligations in relation to animal welfare issues.
In the 21st Century, our mores and our collective community conscience demand better welfare, protection and rights for all animals.
Abbreviations used in the Explanatory Memorandum:
EIA - environmental impact assessment

EPBC Act - Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

NES - national environmental significance

NGO - non-government organisation

NHMRC - National Health and Medical Research Council

PER - public environment report


NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE BILL 2003
NOTES ON CLAUSES
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