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Bill outlines first animal cruelty reforms for 20 years

Queensland is to introduce a new animal cruelty offence for people responsible for aggravated caring breaches.

The offence will carry penalties of up to three years’ jail and fines of $275,000.

The State Government last Thursday introduced legislation to update Queensland’s Animal Care and Protection Act for the first time in more than two decades.

Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Queenslanders expected neglect of animals to carry severe consequences.

“Under our proposed amendments people convicted of aggravated breaches of duty of care to animals face up to three years in jail or maximum fines of more than $275,000,” Mr Furner said.

“The package of amendments will reflect advances in the knowledge and understanding of animal biology and behaviour and responds to community expectations about the welfare of all animals, including livestock.”

The amendments came a week after QLS Proctor reported the banning of “prong collars used to restrain dogs” as one of the proposed reforms of the animal welfare laws review.

Other proposed amendments to the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 include:

  • clarification of some inspector powers in relation to entry and compliance with animal welfare directions
  • clarification of minimum standards for making codes of practice under the Act, including on the basis of scientific evidence
  • clarification of the scientific use of animals, including alignment of the scientific use provisions to the Australian Scientific Use Code
  • new framework for cattle spaying and pregnancy testing by lay persons
  • requirement for dogs to be restrained on vehicles, with an exemption for working dogs
  • prohibition on the use of yellow phosphorous pig poison.

The proposed amendments also include legislative changes recommended by the Inquiry into animal cruelty in the management of retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses in Queensland (the Martin Inquiry) and an audit undertaken by the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) in 2021.

Mr Furner said the Bill would be examined by a parliamentary committee and stakeholders and the community would be able to provide feedback on the proposed amendments via that process before any amendments to the Act were made.

“The amendments will demonstrate to the community and trading partners that Queensland meets community and market expectations in relation to animal welfare,” he said.

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