The Animal Care and Protection Act

The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) promotes the responsible care and use of animals. It places a legal duty of care on people in charge of animals to meet those animals' needs in an appropriate way.

The Act is administered by Biosecurity Queensland. Specially trained Biosecurity Queensland or RSPCA animal welfare inspectors, or the police, investigate complaints about alleged offences.

The Act protects the rights of individuals by ensuring that:

  • all inspectors are adequately trained before they are appointed
  • all processes followed during investigations are audited
  • investigators are held accountable for their findings.

The Act sets out a general offence of cruelty with a maximum penalty of $266,900 or 3 years imprisonment. It also sets out a range of other offences, including duty of care breaches, prohibited events, regulated surgical procedures, use of baits or harmful substances and noncompliance with compulsory codes.

There are also offences for severe animal cruelty under the Criminal Code Act 1899 which have a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment.

Read the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

Codes of practice

There are national codes of practice to define animal welfare standards for individual species and types of animal use (mainly livestock). These codes are used as a tool by inspectors to issue animal welfare directions to ease animal suffering and address situations that might otherwise lead to animal suffering.

There is a compulsory code to protect animals used for scientific purposes. The Queensland code of practice for the welfare of animals in circuses and parts of the adopted domestic poultry code and pig code are compulsory under the Animal Care and Protection Regulation 2012.

Under the Act, programs can be developed to monitor compliance with compulsory codes.

Animal welfare legislation in other states