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 Victoria’s animal care and protection laws
VICTORIA’S animal care and protection laws are currently under re- form, with feedback under review following the closure on October 16.
mans towards any animal in Victoria, while also rec- ognising that animals can be owned and used for legitimate and necessary purposes.
Act 1994, and the Fisheries Act 1995) are provided an exemption (as opposed to an exception) to the Preven- tion of Cruelty to Animals Act.
In 2020, high‐level policy proposals for a new Act to replace the current Preven- tion of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 were released for public feedback.
To deal with circum- stances where legitimate and necessary activities in- volving animals regulated under other legislation potentially conflict with care and cruelty offences, a clearly defined exception to the offences would be provided in the new laws.
These exemptions allow for the possibility that the POCTA Act does not apply, even where cruelty has clearly occurred.
Sanitising foot mats have been used by thousands of international travellers. Photo: Perth Airport
FMD biosecurity zone extension
The policy proposals were developed following consultations with rep- resentatives of more than 50 animal‐based industry and community organisa- tions, along with animal scientists, animal welfare regulators and others with expertise or an interest in animal welfare.
The exemptions also create the incorrect percep- tion that animal welfare laws are not relevant for activities such as farming, fishing, hunting and pest control.
THE Biosecurity – Foot and Mouth Disease Biosecurity Response Zone – De- termination 2022 cov- ering relevant inter- national airports has been extended to June 30, 2023.
continue to ensure Aus- tralia has the strongest protection from FMD being introduced by way of travellers from Indonesia.
mination is a key part of our response.
risk of FMD spreading from Bali to Australia, which includes in- creased detection and protection here in Aus- tralia and a million vac- cines for the Indonesian cattle industry.
More than 1200 re- sponses on the proposals were received.
• Activities in accordance with Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 – if a Traditional Owner group has a natural re- source agreement under the Traditional Owner Settle- ment Act, a member of that Traditional Owner group can carry out an agreed activity on land to which the agreement applies
Director of Biosecu- rity and Secretary of the Department of Agricul- ture, Fisheries and For- estry Andrew Metcalfe said the extension would
“Australia is currently free of FMD and we want to keep it that way.
“The response zones are in addition to the $14 million assistance package to reduce the
They showed over- whelming support for laws that recognise the latest animal science and provide clarity about how animals should be treated.
“Extending this deter-
Other tasks to inform the new legislation have in- cluded research to better understand the perspec- tives and expectations of Victorians for animal wel- fare.
• Veterinary treatment by a registered veterinary practitioner
Animal protection laws in other jurisdictions have been reviewed, along with potential economic impacts and market opportunities of reforming the laws. This plan provides an- other opportunity for feedback
• Activities permitted by the new laws (including in regulations and licences) when done in accordance with the new laws
Developing a new Act takes time.
• The control of pest ani- mals using a method au- thorised by and done in accordance with regula- tions made under Victoria’s Catchment and Land Pro- tection Act 1994
We need to make sure we get the laws right.
The plan provided an op- portunity to give feedback, and closed on October 16.
• Activities permitted under and done in accord- ance with Victoria’s Fish- eries Act 1995.
The plan explained the main policy positions that will underpin Victoria’s new animal care and pro- tection laws.
These exceptions would only apply where the ac- tivities complied with the relevant other legislation.
The main aim of the new laws is to help protect ani- mals from cruelty while enabling Victorians to con- tinue to interact responsibly with animals.
These exceptions would not prevent authorised of- ficers from exercising powers under the new laws to determine whether an exception applies.
Lawful activities such as hunting, fishing, farming, racing and pest control would be able to continue.
Why this approach?
Feedback on any con- cerns about the policy positions in the plan was sought.
Providing exceptions to the news laws would enable legal and legitimate activi- ties involving animals to continue.
This included where greater clarity may have been needed, or where unintended consequences were identified.
This includes activi- ties such as livestock and poultry farming, fishing (commercial, recreational, aquaculture and tradi- tional fishing), hunting and racing.
Feedback will inform draft legislation
The exceptions aim to re- duce and manage any risks associated with these ac- tivities by being transparent about how the new laws apply.
Feedback received will inform the development of an Exposure Draft of the legislation.
It is planned to release the Exposure Draft in 2023 for another round of public feedback.
Clarity is needed around the interaction of different animal‐focused legislation in Victoria.
This will provide Victo- rians with a final say before a Bill is introduced into the Victorian Parliament for consideration.
The new animal care and protection laws aim to provide this clarity so that people can be confident they are not committing an offence when undertaking a legal and legitimate ac- tivity.
If that Bill is passed, con- sultation with stakeholders and the community will continue as regulations and other legislative tools to support the new Act are developed.
At present, some activi- ties conducted in accord- ance with the requirements of other Victorian legisla- tion (such as the Meat In- dustry Act 1993, the Catch- ment and Land Protection
Proposed approach for application of new laws
The new laws would apply to the actions of hu-
Australian Pork Newspaper, November 2022 – Page 11
People could not be pros- ecuted for a care or cruelty offence under the new laws when undertaking:
Visit project/new-animal-wel fare-act-victoria to follow the project and for the in- vitation to have your say in the next round of public feedback on the release of the Exposure Draft in 2023.
“Biosecurity Response Zones at international airports were first es- tablished in July,” Mr Metcalfe said.
“The response zones strengthen and widen the powers of biosecu- rity officers to set up and direct passengers to use foot mats and other biosecurity control measures such as the cleaning of shoes.
“Sanitising foot mats are also installed at all international airports, and at ports where com- mercial or cruise vessels may arrive direct from Indonesia.”
• The hunting of game and control or disturbance of wildlife permitted under and done in accordance with Victoria’s Wildlife Act 1975

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