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What is animal welfare?
'Animal welfare' means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives.
An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter/killing.
Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment."
Source: OIE (World Organization for Animal Health)
Chapter 7.1. Introduction to the recommendations for animal welfare. Terrestrial Animal Health Code 2010
'Animal welfare – it's your duty to care'. 'Duty of Care' is an obligation for people to take reasonable measures to protect the welfare of any animals that their activities may impact upon.
To learn more about animal welfare globally, visit the OIE website. The OIE is the intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide.
Victoria's first Animal Welfare Action Plan
The Victorian Government released the state's first ever Animal Welfare Action Plan in January 2018.
The Animal Welfare Action Plan – Improving the Welfare of Animals in Victoria – recognises community expectations for animal welfare.
The action plan aims for Victoria to continue to improve animal welfare and to be well respected globally for its animal welfare practices.
The action plan covers all animals, including pets, livestock, native animals, aquatic animals. and animals used in research and teaching, tourism and recreation.
It also reflects extensive stakeholder and public feedback received on the draft Action Plan released in 2016.
Download the Animals in Victoria poster (PDF - 155.8 KB)
Learn more about the Animal Welfare Action Plan.
Reporting animal cruelty
The department's record of prosecutions
Animal welfare resources
- Use of leghold traps for wild dog management: changes to permitted trap sizes from 1 January 2018
- Farmed Bird Welfare Science Review
- 2015 Changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986
- Animal welfare toolkit for livestock veterinarians
- Caring for animals during extreme heat
- Legislation and codes of practice
- Animals in emergencies
- Animals in Research and Teaching
- Companion Animal Welfare
- Humane vertebrate pest control
- Aquatic Animal Welfare
- Animal Welfare email information subscription