New ‘Plan for Victoria’s new animal care and protection laws’ sets out big improvements for animal welfare

Published on 2 September 2022

Victorians are encouraged to have their say and help shape new animal welfare legislation by providing feedback on the Plan for Victoria’s new animal care and protection laws, which was released by the Minister for Agriculture today.

RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr Liz Walker welcomed the Plan, which sets out how new animal welfare legislation would differ from the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, which is over 35 years old and in need of reform.

Dr Walker said, “we are excited to see that after extensive consultation with the community, industry and stakeholders, the Plan for Victoria’s new animal care and protection laws proposes many positive changes including:

  • Recognition of animal sentience in the new legislation – that is, explicitly recognising that animals have the capacity to feel, perceive their environment, and to have positive and negative experiences like pleasure and pain;
  • Care requirements – to recognise that people have a duty to care for the health and wellbeing of animals, including providing appropriate nutrition, physical environments and behavioural interactions;
  • New provisions to help authorised officers including RSPCA Victoria Inspectors protect and care for animals, including an improved enforcement toolkit and better provisions to provide appropriate care for animals held in custody due to welfare concerns.”

These are just some of the proposed positive changes for animals outlined in the Animal Care Plan released today, which are designed to modernise Victoria’s legislation and bring it into line with community expectations and current scientific understanding.

The consultation period is now underway – RSPCA Victoria will be making a submission and encourages all Victorians who care about the welfare of animals to do the same.

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