Codes of practice for the welfare of animals - Queensland


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).

Service type

Code of Practice

A code of practice is a set of rules which details how people in a certain industry should behave. A code of practice can be defined as a result of legislation or by industry regulators and bodies.

Additional information

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.


Administering agency

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Biosecurity Queensland

Animal Biosecurity and Welfare

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.

Customer Service Centre

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Phone: 07 3404 6999
Phone: 13 25 23
Website: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Customer Service Centre (Opens in new window)