Review of the Animal Welfare Act 2002

Page last updated: Wednesday, 26 June 2019 - 8:44am

In May 2019, Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced the independent panel that would oversee a public review of the operation and effectiveness of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (the Act).

The independent panel will be chaired by Western Australian barrister and regulatory law specialist Linda Black, who has a professional background in animal welfare. Other members of the panel have a range of senior veterinary, animal welfare and industry experience.

The aim of the review is to assess the operation and effectiveness of the Act, including whether it reflects contemporary best practice and what legislative amendments might be required. The panel will provide a report back to Government in 12 months, with detail on its findings and any recommendations for legislative amendments.

To support the work of the panel, Murdoch University’s School of Veterinary and Life Sciences is carrying out an independent comparison of animal welfare laws and policies in selected Australian and overseas jurisdictions. Staff from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will also assist the panel by providing legal, scientific, compliance and policy expertise.

The panel’s review of the effectiveness of the Act is separate to the work being carried out by the department to implement the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for livestock (Standards and Guidelines). Amendments to the Act in 2018 have made the implementation of the Standards and Guidelines in Western Australia possible.

Terms of Reference

  1. Determine whether the objects of the Act reflect and promote contemporary best practice in animal welfare such as recognition of the ability of animals to express innate behaviours, and if necessary recommend appropriate legislative amendments.
  2. Identify any impediments to the effective enforcement of the Act and any related regulations, with specific attention to the powers of inspectors and the prosecution of offenders.
  3. Consider amendments to policies, standards and legislation to achieve contemporary best practice in animal welfare regulation, including a compliance regime based on standards prescribed by regulation, and if necessary recommend appropriate legislative amendments.
  4. Make recommendations on how compliance with the Act can be promoted, including consideration of the prosecutorial framework, and if necessary recommend appropriate legislative amendments.
  5. Advise the Minister on any other matters relevant to the operation and effectiveness of the Act.

Review of the Animal Welfare Act 2002

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