Animal Welfare Act 2002

Page last updated: Monday, 4 February 2019 - 2:19pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Inhumane devices

The Act provides for the protection of animals by prohibiting inhumane and improper treatment of animals. The use of an inhumane device on an animal is an act of cruelty. Inhumane devices include:

  • a device that is designed or modified to deliver an electric shock to an animal (other than an electric fence)
  • jawed traps of any kind
  • spurs that have sharpened or fully-fixed rowels
  • spurs that are reasonably capable of penetrating the skin of the animal on which they are intended to be used.

Devices designed or modified to deliver an electric shock to an animal

The Act (Section 29) and Regulation 7 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations provide defences in relation to the use of inhumane devices. It is a defence to a charge of cruelty that arises out of the use on an animal of a device that is designed or modified to deliver an electric shock to an animal (other than an electric fence), for the defendant to prove that the device used is one set out in the table below and the device is used on the animal for the purpose and in accordance with the conditions set out next to the device on the table.

Device

Purpose

Type of animal

Manner of use

Electric stock prod

Driving, herding, mustering or controlling animals

Cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, buffalo or camels

Must not be applied to the face, udder or genital organs of an animal.

Electric stock prod

Controlling animals at a rodeo

Horses or cattle

Must not be applied to the face, udder or genital organs of an animal.

Electric stunning device

Electrical stunning of animals in an abattoir

Cattle, sheep, goats or pigs

Must be used in accordance with the relevant code of practice for the particular animal (set out under regulation 6 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations).

Electro‑
ejaculator

Collecting semen from conscious animals

Cattle or sheep

Must be used in accordance with any relevant code of practice for the particular animal (set out under regulation 6 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations).

Electro‑
ejaculator

Collecting semen from tranquillised or anaesthetised animals

All species of animal, including cattle and sheep

Must be used in accordance with any relevant code of practice for the particular animal (set out under regulation 6 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations).

Electric training collar activated by the animal or a person in the course of training an animal

Training of animals

Dogs

Must be used in accordance with the generally accepted method of usage for the type of collar.

Electrical device known as the “invisible fence”

Containment and training of animals

Dogs

Must be used in accordance with the generally accepted method of usage for the type of “invisible fence”.

Electro‑
immobiliser

Restraining animals

Cattle

Must be used in accordance with the generally accepted method of usage for the type of device.

Jawed traps

The Act (Section 29) and Regulation 8 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations provide defences in relation to the use of an inhumane device.

It is a defence to a charge of cruelty that arises out of the use on an animal of a jawed trap, for the defendant to prove that the device was used in accordance with Regulation 8 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations.

In summary:

Wild dog control using metal jawed leghold trap

  • Must be used by the:
    • owner or leasee of an agricultural or pastoral property, or their authorised agent, or
    • an officer of a Commonwealth, State or local government agency, who is responsible for wild dog control.
  • Must ensure that the jaws of the trap are bound with cloth containing sufficient strychnine to ensure a rapid death for any animal likely to be caught in the trap.
  • Where the use is for scientific purposes, must ensure that the jaws of the trap are sufficiently padded, or the trap has otherwise been modified, so that any animal caught in the trap is unlikely to suffer significant injury.

Fox control using metal jawed leghold trap:

  • Must be used by the
    • the owner of land or the owner’s agent on the relevant land, or
    • a licensed pest control operator.
  • Must ensure that the jaws of the trap are sufficiently padded, or the trap has otherwise been modified, so that any animal caught in the trap is unlikely to suffer significant injury, and
  • Must ensure that any permit to set the trap required under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013 has first been obtained.

Contact information

Animal Welfare General Enquiries