Voluntary codes of practice for animal welfare

Voluntary animal welfare codes are named (or 'made') in schedule 4 of the Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012. They are generally the Model codes of practice for the welfare of animals (animal welfare codes) that have not been reviewed but remain important animal welfare documents.

They are not compulsory under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) (the Act).

These animal welfare codes contain guidelines and information on the minimum acceptable animal welfare outcomes for a particular type of animal or animal use.

Using the animal welfare codes in livestock industries

Most animal welfare codes adopted under the Act are about livestock, including feral livestock.

They are part of a national series endorsed by the former Standing Council on Primary Industries. These animal welfare codes contain minimum requirements of animal welfare in the livestock industries. They have been developed in consultation with animal industries, animal welfare groups, and relevant state and federal government departments.

Those working in livestock industries need to be familiar with the relevant animal welfare codes. You may need to be familiar with a number of animal welfare codes to understand your responsibilities in managing and marketing livestock.

Although compliance with voluntary animal welfare codes is not compulsory under the Act, people in charge of animals should use them as a reference to help them meet their duty of care obligation under the Act. Where no mandatory code exists, animal welfare inspectors refer to voluntary animal welfare codes when assessing whether people are meeting their duty of care.

Non-compliance with voluntary animal welfare codes

Because voluntary animal welfare codes are not compulsory, non-compliance with a voluntary code is not automatically an offence under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld). However, non-compliance is admissible in evidence in a court case for an offence, such as breach of duty of care.

Compliance with a voluntary animal welfare code requirement does not automatically protect someone against prosecution for an offence under the Act. For example, an operator may meet the guidelines relating to a husbandry procedure but still breach their duty of care if the person was not competent to perform the procedure.