On 28 August 2019, the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions released the draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019 (VIC) (“the Draft Regulations”) and its regulatory impact statement for public consultation.
In Victoria, animal welfare is currently regulated by a number of legislative instruments. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (VIC) (“the Act”) is the main piece of animal welfare legislation in the State. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008 (VIC) (“the 2008 Regulations”) supports the operation and enforceability of this Act, containing additional requirements for the treatment of animals and providing for fees and infringement provisions. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Domestic Fowl) Regulations 2016 (VIC) contains provisions to regulate the conditions under which domestic fowl are kept. Additional codes of practice for animal welfare made under the Act also operate in order to set out minimum standards and practices in regards to animal welfare.
The current 2008 Regulations were due for automatic repeal in December 2018, but their operation was extended until 15 December 2019 by the Subordinate Legislation (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008) Extension Regulations 2018 (VIC). The Draft Regulations remake and replace the 2008 Regulations, with some additional amendments.
The Draft Regulations cover four main areas of animal welfare:
In regards to the general protection of animals, the Draft Regulations notably proposes a number of new offences and requirements. Animals left in cars or on metal vehicle trays on hot days must not be left for more than 10 minutes on days at or above 28 degrees Celsius. Animals that are placed on metal trays of cars on such days must have an insulating material to protect the animal from the hot metal. Sheep fleece must also not be allowed to grow to a length greater than twice the average annual growth of the breed or more than 25 centimetres, whichever is the shorter.
The Draft Regulations also propose prohibiting the use of glue traps of animals and limitation of the use and sale of insect glue traps in order to minimise animal capture. In regards to scientific procedures, the Draft Regulation proposes additional provisions for the mandatory training for new members of the Animal Ethics Committees and the prohibition of sourcing animals from pounds and shelters, unless the research they are to be used for is in relation to the health and welfare of pound animals.
Other areas in which additional requirements and offences have been proposed, include:
Some of the questions posed for consultation from the consultation website include:
“2.a. Do you agree with the proposed regulation relating to 'Pain relief for mulesing of sheep'?
3.a. Do you agree with the proposed regulations relating to ‘Fruit Netting’?
5.a. Do you agree with the proposed regulations relating to ‘Traps’?”
Consultation on the Draft Regulations is currently open. Further details on the consultation and its progress can be found on the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions website.
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[Draft] Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019 (VIC) and regulatory impact statement available from TimeBase’s LawOne Service
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