Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee consists of ten members appointed by the Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries pursuant to Regulation 6 of the Animal Welfare Regulations.

Member representation

The members were nominated by, and represent the interests of, the following organisations:

Advisory Committee functions

The functions of the Advisory Committee include:

  • advising the Minister about animal welfare legislation and other matters relevant to animal welfare
  • investigating and reporting on matters relevant to the animal welfare referred to it by the Minister
  • participating in the development of codes of practice and the review of adopted codes of practice
  • providing advice to bodies, organisations or the general community on programs for the improvement of community awareness about animal welfare
  • any other functions prescribed by the regulations.

The Advisory Committee must hold at least two meetings each year.

The Advisory Committee must submit an annual report to the Minister on or before 30 September each year in relation to the financial year ending on the preceding 30 June.

Australian Animal Welfare Strategy

The recently developed Australian Animal Welfare Strategy has identified enhanced national consistency in regulation and sustainable improvements in animal welfare based on science, national and international benchmarks and changing community standards as areas of priority effort.

Work is now underway to update the model codes of practice and convert them into Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines. The new documents will incorporate both national welfare standards and industry best practice guidelines for each species or enterprise.

In an effort to comprehensively cover all animal management sectors, new standards and guidelines will also be created where model codes of practice did not exist.

National standards and guidelines

All states and territories in Australia are working toward consistent standards and guidelines for animal welfare. Find further information on the animal welfare standards website.

Codes of practice

Under the Act, the Minister may adopt a code of practice relating to animal welfare, or vary or revoke an adapted code of practice.  Codes of practice set out best practice standards for the care, welfare and management of animals.

Crocodiles

The Australian Government has issued a Code of Practice on the Humane Treatment of Wild and Farmed Australian Crocodiles. As the Australian crocodile industry continues to grow it is important that a nationally consistent set of minimum standards for the humane treatment of crocodiles is in place. The recommended standards are based on current knowledge about crocodile welfare issues and what is currently thought to be best practice in humane handling techniques.

This code is intended primarily for use by individuals or companies licensed by relevant state or territory authorities to: capture and/or take crocodiles and eggs from the wild (i.e. private or public lands); to keep crocodiles for commercial raising or captive breeding; to kill crocodiles; or, to incubate eggs in controlled conditions.

Shooting of kangaroos and wallabies

The National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes and the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes sets achievable standards of humane conduct and is the minimum required of persons shooting kangaroos and wallabies.

These codes have been produced to ensure that all persons intending to shoot free-living kangaroos or wallabies undertake the shooting so that the animal is killed in a way that minimises pain and suffering.

Rodent traps

A position statement has been issued by the National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare on Glue Boards and Gels and Metal-Toothed Rodent Traps. Where a decision has been made that animals must be removed from an area where they are causing damage, removal must be undertaken using the most effective and humane method, and steps taken to prevent future re-invasions. The statement notes that glue boards and gels and metal-toothed rodent traps cause unnecessary suffering and should be prohibited.

Model codes of practice

For Australia’s livestock industries there are Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals which provides principles and practices for animal welfare.

Commissioned by the Primary Industries Standing Committee and available on the CSIRO website, these codes largely serve as (voluntary) guides for people responsible for the welfare and husbandry of a range of livestock animals:

Position statements

General guidelines for animal welfare have been developed by the National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare (NCCAW) and are suggested practices for the acceptable use and treatment of animals in Australia. The guidelines are presented as position statements and are based on scientific knowledge and expertise.

NCCAW position statements include:

Other animal welfare guidelines

Retail pet shops

The Northern Territory has a code of practice that sets the standard expected of retail pet shops for the care, management and trade of companion animals called guidelines for the care and welfare of animals in retail pet shops (104.3 kb).

The code of practice was developed in consultation with the Pet Industry Association of Australia and the Northern Territory Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.

Retail pet store business owners, managers and their staff should understand and comply with all relevant aspects of the code of practice.

Caged birds

The Northern Territory guidelines for the care and welfare of caged birds (69.8 kb) provide the basic requirements for humane care of birds held in captivity.

The aims of the guidelines are to:

  • promote the humane and considerate treatment of birds and the use of good husbandry practices
  • inform people responsible for the care and management of caged birds of their obligations
  • provide the community with a set of guidelines for the care of caged birds.

Owners of birds are strongly encouraged to read and implement these guidelines.

Rodeo livestock

The National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare, the national body for animal welfare, has developed Standards for the Care and Treatment of Rodeo Livestock.

The standards set minimum requirements for the care and welfare of rodeo livestock and establish benchmarks for effective co-regulation between industry and animal welfare agencies. The document cover guidelines for arena conditions, yard and chute design, plus criteria for rodeo participants and staff in the handling and care of livestock.

Circus standards

The National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare has developed Recommended National Circus Standards. These standards encompass of areas of circus animal care, including transportation, housing, exhibition, and husbandry and training, and are endorsed by the Circus Federation of Australasia.

Transportation of animals

Meat and Livestock Australia has produced a national guide to the selection of animals fit to transport – Is it Fit to Load? This guide has been developed in consultation with the livestock industry to help you decide if an animal is fit to be loaded for transport to sale yards, abattoirs, or any other destination.

Good preparation of all livestock is essential to prevent suffering during transport. The relevant husbandry and transport codes recommend, and export standards legislate, how livestock should be prepared for transport, including rest periods and feed and water withholding periods.

Australian standards for export of livestock

Any person involved in the export of livestock, from farm to vessel, must comply with the new Australian Standards for Export of Livestock produced by Animal Health Australia. The welfare standards and guidelines are based on the revision of the Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals (MCOP) available on the CSIRO website.

Beef cattle feedlots

In 2002, the Primary Industries Standing Committee released the National Guidelines for Beef Cattle Feedlots in Australia to assist the sustainable development of the growing feedlot industry and provide guidelines for animal welfare.

Further Information about Australia-wide Animal Welfare Guidelines visit the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources  - Animal Welfare website.

Last updated: 28 April 2016