Animal Welfare Regulation

The Animal welfare regulation newsletter provides information on the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s role in ensuring that all livestock receive appropriate standards of care, and on the latest developments in animal welfare policies and standards.

Review of Animal Welfare Act kicks off

Cattle grazing in paddock

In May, 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). Although the two processes are linked and relevant to the same stakeholders, they have clear and independent objectives that seek to make improvements to animal welfare regulation in different areas.

Livestock regulations are currently being drafted that will allow the Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport and for Saleyards and Depots to be enforced. A consultation draft of the livestock regulations will be made available to industry and the public to provide feedback. A list of frequently asked questions is available online.

The consultation on the livestock regulations is expected to begin soon. If you would like to be notified when the consultation begins, send an email to and ask to be added to the animal welfare regulation consultation list.

The panel reviewing the Act will also undertake a consultation with key stakeholders and the public, but the process is still to be finalised. Details will be made available on the department’s website as they are confirmed.