Animal welfare roles and responsibilities

Page last updated: Thursday, 22 February 2018 - 3:06pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

There are a number of agencies and organisations that have roles and responsibilities in administering and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act). These include the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Western Australia (RSPCA), local government rangers and the WA Police.

Roles and responsibilities of DPIRD

Role of DPIRD

DPIRD is the department of the Public Service assisting the Minster for Agriculture and Food in the administration of the Act.  Inspectors have authority under the Act to investigate complaints of animal cruelty and undertake a range of compliance and enforcement actions.

DPIRD also contributes to the development of animal welfare policies and standards and raises awareness among industry to facilitate compliance with animal welfare legislation and improved animal welfare outcomes for livestock.

The Animal Welfare Regulation project within DPIRD’s Biosecurity and Regulation directorate is responsible for all administrative, compliance and enforcement issues related to the Act.

Responsibilities of the Animal Welfare Regulation project include

  • providing advice to the Minister and other stakeholders in relation to the Act
  • administering animal welfare legislation
  • promoting compliance with the Act
  • animal welfare monitoring at livestock aggregation points across all levels of the livestock supply chain (for example, saleyards, feedlots, abattoirs, knackeries and ports)
  • investigating reports of cruelty to livestock referred by the RSPCA or from agricultural industry
  • conducting compliance and enforcement actions, including prosecution where appropriate
  • providing extension and education in relation to animal welfare legislation
  • licensing institutions that use or supply animals for scientific purposes
  • monitoring scientific licensees for compliance with the Act.

Responsibilities of DPIRD includes

  • providing policy advice to the Minister and other stakeholders in relation to livestock welfare
  • contributing to the development of state and national animal welfare policies
  • participating in the development of national animal welfare standards
  • consulting with local industry and other stakeholders on livestock welfare policies
  • providing information to livestock owners and handlers with the aim of improving animal welfare
  • playing a key role in animal welfare policy and the development of national standards and guidelines
  • appointing inspectors under the Act.