Animal Welfare Act 2002
The Act contains some specific provisions relating to veterinarians. The Act allows veterinarians:
- to undertake tail docking of a dog in certain circumstances in the interests of an animal's welfare
- a defence to a charge of cruelty (other than in relation to prescribed surgical practice or activity) for the person to prove that they were a veterinary surgeon, or were acting on the instructions of a veterinary surgeon and were providing the animals with veterinary care in accordance with generally accepted veterinary practices.
Tail docking means the removal of one or more of the coccygeal vertebrae, whether by cutting, ablation, elastration or any other means.
The tail docking of dogs is prohibited. It is an offence under regulation 14 of the Animal Welfare (General) Regulations to dock the tail of a dog unless the removal is performed by a veterinary surgeon and only if the tail docking is clinically indicated to cure or alleviate a disease or injury from which the dog suffers. The penalty for an offence under regulation 14 is $2000.
This means that if a veterinarian removes the tail of a dog for any reason other than to alleviate a disease or injury from which the dog suffers, for example for prophylactic or aesthetic reasons, the veterinarian may be prosecuted.
In the event of a large scale natural disaster in WA, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) or other responding organisations may need voluntary support from veterinarians and veterinary nurses. The Australian Veterinary Association will coordinate gathering information about veterinary volunteers via its website if a disaster occurs and volunteers are needed.
Enquiries can be directed to the Australian Veterinary Association on +61 (0)8 9388 9600, 1300 137 309 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can be found on the Australian Veterinary Association website.