The animal welfare codes of practice contain nationally agreed outcomes for the welfare of livestock and other animals. The basic needs of animals for appropriate food, water, air, shelter, comfort and freedom to move and express normal behaviour patterns are considered.
These codes provide guidelines to meet duty of care under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 in Queensland. This duty of care is a legal obligation on those in charge of animals to provide for their needs in an appropriate way. Anyone who owns, manages or handles livestock and other animals has a legal duty of care to be responsible for ensuring acceptable standards of welfare.
In Queensland, sections of the poultry code, pig code and transport of livestock codes have been written into legislation in the Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012. This means they are compulsory under the legislation.
Other compulsory codes in Queensland are the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes and Queensland code of practice for the welfare of animals in circuses.
Generally speaking, these codes are either about:
- keeping a certain type of livestock or animal (e.g. cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, camels); or
- particular situations involving animals (e.g. transportation, saleyards, abattoirs, scientific research, circuses and film production).
Code of Practice
A code of practice can be either a legal requirement or non-legal requirement. Legal codes of practice are defined as a result of legislation. Non-legal codes of practice are defined by industry regulators and bodies.
Compliance mechanisms and penalties
DAF inspectors, RSPCA inspectors and police officers have powers to enforce compliance with the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001. This includes 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 or breaching duty of care to animals face a maximum fine of $34,155 or one year in prison.
People who intentionally inflict 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 year jail sentence.
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Animal Biosecurity and Welfare
Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Queensland)
Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012 (Queensland)
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