Feedback sought on proposed new animal welfare Act for Victoria

SUBMISSIONS CLOSE Monday 14 December 2020

The Victorian Government is seeking feedback from veterinary practitioners on proposals for a new animal welfare Act which would replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA Act). Feedback will inform the development of a draft Bill for the Act, to be released for public feedback before its introduction into Parliament. The Board has been participating in the consultation process and will continue to be involved as work towards the new Act proceeds.

The proposals for a new Act aim to improve existing provisions under the POCTA Act and introduce new features into Victoria’s main animal welfare legislation. The Government has published a Directions Paper presenting 12 high-level proposals grouped into 3 themes: safeguarding animal welfare; a simplified and flexible legislation; a better compliance and enforcement model.

The Board draws the attention of veterinary practitioners to proposal 1.4 in the Directions Paper, which outlines a single regulatory framework for performing three categories of controlled procedures on animals:
  • Restricted procedures would include procedures that are painful or otherwise affect animal welfare. People would require a certain level of competency and/or need to comply with requirements detailed in Regulations to be able to perform these procedures. Some procedures would be restricted to registered veterinarians only, as covered by restricted acts of veterinary science in other jurisdictions.
  • Prohibited procedures would continue the ‘prohibited procedures’ approach of the current POCTA Act and would be prohibited for all persons. Limited exceptions for registered veterinarians for therapeutic purposes would exist for some specific procedures.
  • Scientific procedures would likely be based on the existing definition and framework for the use of animals in science and teaching provided under the POCTA Act but would be reviewed to ensure consistency with the overarching aims of the reform.

You can read the Directions Paper and provide feedback on all proposals via the Engage Victoria public consultation portal before 11.59 pm Monday 14 December 2020.

Engage Victoria linkA new Animal Welfare Act for Victoria