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Tougher penalties for neglecting animals among proposed legislation changes

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Tough new penalties will apply to people who breach their duty of care to animals under proposed changes to the state’s laws.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner introduced legislation into parliament today to update the Animal Care and Protection Act for the first time in more than two decades.

He says Queenslanders expect there will be severe consequences for neglecting animals.

“Under our proposed amendments people convicted of aggravated breaches of duty of care to animals face up to three years in jail or maximum fines of more than $275,000,” Mr Furner says.

“The package of amendments will reflect advances in the knowledge and understanding of animal biology and behaviour and responds to community expectations about the welfare of all animals, including livestock.”

“I’m thrilled that more than 2,300 people had their say on the review of our animal welfare laws.”

The proposed changes include:

  • A new offence for aggravated breaches of the duty of care, with a maximum penalty of more than $275,000 or 3 years imprisonment
  • Clarification of some inspector powers in relation to entry and compliance with animal welfare directions
  • Clarification of minimum standards for making codes of practice under the Act, including on the basis of scientific evidence
  • Clarification of the scientific use of animals, including alignment of the scientific use provisions to the Australian Scientific Use Code
  • A new framework for cattle spaying and pregnancy testing by lay persons
  • A requirement for dogs to be restrained on vehicles, with an exemption for working dogs
  • Prohibition of the use and possession of pronged dog collars
  • Prohibition on the use of yellow phosphorus pig poison

The reforms will also include changes recommended by the ‘Inquiry into animal cruelty in the management of retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses in Queensland' (the Martin Inquiry) and an audit undertaken by the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) in 2021.

Mr Furner says the Bill will be examined by a Parliamentary Committee and stakeholders including the community will be able to provide feedback before any amendments are made.

“The amendments will demonstrate to the community and trading partners that Queensland meets community and market expectations in relation to animal welfare,” he says.

Read more about the Bill at daf.qld.gov.au and search ‘ACPA review’.