The Queensland Government will conduct a full review of the state’s animal welfare legislation.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minster for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the review would examine all aspects of the Animal Care and Protection Act to make sure it met changing community expectations.
“We have some of the toughest animal welfare laws in the nation, but community expectations evolve and this issue is way too important to just sit back and think that the job is done,” Mr Furner said.
“As this Act is 19 years old it is time to ensure that it reflects the level of decency that this government and the community expects in relation to the treatment of all animals.
“We need to continue to improve on the good work already achieved by those who have taken action before us – and we must continue to ensure that Queensland is a safe place for all animals.”
The Act was last updated when then Minister for Primary Industries and Rural Communities Henry Palaszczuk moved to ensure Queensland had the best animal protection laws in the country.
Mr Furner said that since he had assumed Ministerial responsibility for animal welfare he had:
- Commissioned the Animal Welfare Advisory Board to conduct a Companion Animal Welfare Review;
- Banned the use of electric prodders on horses; and
- Initiated the drafting of new standards and guidelines for rodeos to ensure the welfare standards of animals used in rodeos are beyond reproach.
“I am proud to say that during this tough and unusual time my Department administered the Emergency Animal Welfare COVID-19 Exhibited Animal Assistance Program to help operators to care for their animals and to meet their animal welfare obligations,” he said.
“In our previous term we identified the appalling issues associated with puppy farming and swiftly passed legislation to ensure that all dog breeders comply with compulsory Queensland animal welfare standards for breeding dogs and their progeny.”
Mr Furner said Queenslanders would get to have their say on any proposed changes to the Animal Care and Protection Act.
“We know millions of Queenslanders love their animals and make them a part of their families,” Mr Furner said.
“We know our farmers, too, care deeply about the animals in their care and I will work with the agricultural industry to make sure this important voice is heard in this process.
“A well-earned reputation for caring for our farmed animals can only enhance our ability to grow the export markets for our world class produce.”
The RSPCA is an important partner in Queensland’s animal welfare regime.
Working closely with RSPCA Qld and independent experts in the field, the review of the Animal Care and Protection Act will include:
- Review of penalties to ensure that enforcement options are fit for purpose;
- Investigation of the infringement notice scheme in response to animal welfare offences;
- Oversight and governance of externally appointed inspectors; and
- Options to facilitate the reporting of animal cruelty by animal welfare professionals including veterinary surgeons.
“The Palaszczuk Government remains committed to a high bar when it comes to the welfare of all animals,” Mr Furner said.
“We will not, for one moment, apologise for our tough approach to those who don’t respect nor abide by our laws.”