Offenders will face up to three years in prison under a new animal welfare law if they breach their duty of care and cause the death, disablement, or prolonged suffering under Queensland’s first update of animal welfare laws in more than two decades.

The updated Animal Care and Protection Act also puts in place a ban on the use of pronged collars and gives animal welfare inspectors powers to intervene where an animal is found to be in distress.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the new offence of aggravated breach of duty of care was just one of a range of changes being made to the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

“This follows the first major review of the Act in 20 years and extensive community consultation with over 2300 Queenslanders,” Mr Furner said.

“Queenslanders want to see animals better protected and people who don’t comply punished appropriately, and that is exactly what these updated laws provide.”

Key amendments:

  • New offence of breach of duty of care for causing death, serious deformity, serious disablement or prolonged suffering of an animal. Maximum penalty – 2,000 penalty units or 3 years imprisonment.
  • Facilitating the ethical use of animals for scientific purposes while ensuring that animal welfare is not compromised.
  • Greater use of animal welfare directions to enforce compulsory codes of practice, extending inspectors’ powers to enter a place to provide shelter to an animal, recognition of interstate prohibition orders, and a new power for an inspector to enter a livestock processing facility when a horse is being processed.
  • Dogs must be secured while travelling on a tray of a vehicle, or a trailer attached to a vehicle. A dog’s body (other than its head) must not protrude from an open window. (Dogs assisting in moving livestock are exempt.)
  • A ban on inhumane practices such as firing or blistering of horses and dogs and the possession and use of prong collars on dogs.
  • Anyone using CSSP Pig Poison can be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
  • New framework for cattle procedures accreditation schemes, including lay pregnancy testing.
  • Implementing some of the recommendations of the Martin Inquiry into the treatment of racehorses.
  • Implementing some of the recommendations of the Queensland Audit Office to improve the appointment and training of inspectors and the governance of animal welfare investigations and prosecutions by the RSPCA Queensland.

Mr Furner said for many Queenslanders keeping pets was part of their great lifestyle, and the changes reflected the protection that Queenslanders wanted for their animals.

“Being able to love and keep pets like dogs is an important part of many people’s lives and Queenslanders want those pets to have strong protections,” he said.

“Queenslanders want animals treated with care and respect and the updated Animal Care and Protection Act will contribute to that.”

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