Animal Welfare: Animals for Entertainment

The Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act) applies to the welfare of all animals in Western Australia. This includes animals that are used in entertainment such as, circuses, zoos (including petting zoos), rodeos and racing. There are various codes of practice for the care of exhibited animals and animals used for entertainment that provide useful guidance about the management and care of these animals.

For further information and to view the codes of practice please visit the codes of practice webpage.

Circuses

The Code of practice for the conduct of circuses in Western Australia is based on the Standards for Exhibiting Circus Animals in New South Wales, and has been adapted for use in Western Australia.

This code of practice has been prepared to assist all persons handling or using circus animals in Western Australia and can be used as a defence to a charge of cruelty.

Exhibited animals

The Code of practice for exhibited animals in Western Australia is based on the General Standards for Exhibiting Animals in New South Wales and has been adapted for use in Western Australia. It was prepared in consultation with the relevant industry organisations and State agencies.

This code of practice has been prepared to assist all persons handling or using animals for exhibition in Western Australia and can be used as a defence to a charge of cruelty.

Pigeons

The Code of practice for pigeon keeping and racing in Western Australia is based on the Code of practice-Pigeon Keeping and Pigeon Racing and has been adapted for use in Western Australia. The original pigeon code was prepared by the Pigeon Racing Federation of Western Australia (Incorporated) and The Independent Pigeon Racing Federation (Incorporated).

This code of practice has been prepared to assist all persons handling or using racing pigeons in Western Australia and can be used as a defence to a charge of cruelty.

Horse racing

The Department is currently in the process of drafting Standards and Guidelines for Horses in Western Australia.

Greyhound racing

General inspectors from DAFWA and the RSPCA jointly enforce the Act. By agreement, the RSPCA general inspectors are responsible for the investigation of animal cruelty issues in the greyhound racing industry. If you have any specific details related to instances of animal cruelty, these should be reported to the RSPCA on +61 (0)8 9209 9300 or click on the report cruelty link on this page.

Issues such as the killing of young and healthy dogs if they are not profitable or become injured are not offences under the Act provided they are performed humanely.

Similarly, the administration of drugs or chemicals to greyhounds is not an offence under the Act unless it results in cruelty (as defined by the Act - see section 19). This issue is better dealt with by the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor as regulators of animal racing, the Department of Health as administrators of the Poisons Act 1964 and the Veterinary Surgeons’ Board of Western Australia who administer the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1960.

Contact information

Animal Welfare General Enquiries
Page last updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2017 - 9:08am