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Reforming Victoria's Animal Care and Protection Laws

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (Vic) (‘POCTA’) has been in place since 1986. Despite its name, it has not provided an adequate framework to prevent harm to animals. 

Work is currently underway to replace POCTA with brand new animal care and protection laws – the proposed Animal Welfare Act. The new Act aims to improve existing provisions under POCTA to uphold the high standard of animal care expected by Victorians. The plan for Victoria’s new animal care and protection laws has 16 policy positions and seeks feedback from 4 angles:

  • Priorities and concerns 
  • Impacts
  • Unintended consequences 
  • Gaps

The Animal Justice Party contributed a 42-page submission to this consultation and provided 64 recommendations. 

Our Conclusion

The Animal Welfare Act is being developed to replace POCTA. There are some positive aspects like the recognition of sentience and the fact that Codes of Practice will be replaced by Regulations which are enforceable.

However, the exemptions to the proposed law make a mockery of the very name of the Act - care and protection. It is meaningless to have an Act with exemptions which allow actual gross cruelty to occur, often culminating in the ultimate harm: death. The Act protects some animals but classifies others differently, which is blatant speciesism.

This proposed Animal Welfare Act will only live up to its name if the sentience of all animals which it recognises, is acknowledged and exemptions and exceptions that disallow this recognition are removed. We must stop abusing animals for the sake of profit or convenience.

The climate crisis is going to challenge the survival of many species even more than happens currently. We have witnessed that just this week with the floods in Victoria causing the death of farmed and wild animals, not to mention the toll on infrastructure and humans.

The Animal Justice Party recommends that the new animal care and protection laws supersede any other laws which allow the essence of the Act to be disregarded.

You can download and read our full submission below, and click through to the Plan for Reforming Victoria's animal care and protection laws on the consultation site. 

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