Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 - Queensland

Service summary

The  Animal Care and Protection Act 2001:

  1. promotes the responsible care and use of animals.
  2. provides standards for the care and use of animals that
    1. achieve a reasonable balance between the welfare of animals and the interests of persons whose livelihoold is dependent on animals.
    2. allow for the effect of advancements in scientific knowledge about animal biology and changes in community expectations about practices involving animals.
  3. protects animals from unjustifiable, unnecesessary or unreasonable pain and cruelty.
  4. ensure the use of animals  for scientific purposes is accountable, open and responsible.

The Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012 prescribes additional requirements for domestic fowl, pigs, transporting livestock and animals in circuses.

Service type

Regulatory Obligation

An obligation defined in law. A business must comply with relevant services.

Definition of terms


All live vertebrate animals, excluding humans. Thus it covers all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Cephalopod invertebrates such as octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus are also included as animals under the Regulation.

Scientific purposes

All those activities performed to acquire, develop or demonstrate knowledge or techniques in any scientific discipline, including activities for the purposes of teaching, field trials, environmental studies, research, diagnosis, product testing, and the production of biological products. This does not include the administration of veterinary treatment to an animal for the purpose of protecting the welfare of the animal; or the conduct of normal animal husbandry operations.



Inspectors, including Departmental officers, RSPCA officers and police officers, have powers to enforce compliance with the Act.  These include provisions for entry and inspection of premises, seizure of evidence and destruction of animals in certain cases.  Offences may be prosecuted in a Magistrates Court and penalties include fines or imprisonment.

In certain circumstances Authorised Officers have powers to conduct monitoring programs to ensure compliance with mandatory code requirements, such as the use of animals for scientific purposes and poultry housing.

The maximum penalty for cruelty to animals under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 is a $227,700 fine or 3 years imprisonment for a person and a $1,138,500 fine for corporations.  Individuals convicted of breaching duty of care to animals face a maximum fin of $34,155 or one year in prison.

People who intentionally inflcit severe pain and suffering upon an animal can also be convicted under the Criminal Code Act 1899 in Queensland.  The maximum penalty is a 7 years jail sentence.

Additional information

A general advisory service on the welfare aspects of animal handling is available through the Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Program of Biosecurity Queensland.

Administering agency

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Biosecurity Queensland
Animal Biosecurity and Welfare

Contact details

Customer Service Centre
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


13 25 23


07 3404 6999


Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Customer Service Centre Opens in a new browser window

Supporting information


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