Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Legislation
Summary of Legislation
The Minister for Agriculture is responsible for this legislation. It is administered by staff in the Biosecurity Division of the department and consists of the principal Act, principal Regulations, Domestic Fowl Regulations and a large number of Codes of Practice.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) has seven parts:
- Part 1 outlines its purpose, scope, application and code making powers.
- Part 2 broadly defines cruelty offences, penalties, rodeo requirements and appointment of inspectors.
- Part 2A sets out the enforcement powers and responsibilities of inspectors
- Part 3 provides provisions concerning use of animals in scientific procedures.
- Part 3A provides provisions relating to the infringement notices
- Part 4 provides for miscellaneous requirements and offences as well as setting out regulation making powers
- Part 5 sets out transitional arrangements that are in place
Part 1 of the Act sets out what an animal is, for the purposes of the Act. It also sets out when the Act applies to an animal or to a person's activities. There are a number of exemptions built into the POCTA Act for activities undertaken in accordance with other legislation, codes of practice made under this Act, and the Livestock Management Act Standards. However this does not permit cruelty to occur. Where people are not complying with the specific requirements of these other Acts, standards or codes they can still face prosecution for cruelty.
Under Part 2 and Part 2A of the Act, the following officers are authorised to have powers to investigate cruelty to animals: all Victoria Police officers, officers authorised by the Minister for Agriculture who are Livestock Disease Control Act inspectors, RSPCA officers and Authorised Council Officers.
Part 3 of the Act ensures that animals used in research are treated as humanely as possible. The Victorian legislation incorporates the provisions of the Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes 8th Edition 2013 (which is available from Commonwealth Bookshops or download from this site under Legislation and Codes of Practice) and legislates the codes of practice for laboratory animals and use of animals from municipal pounds in research. The Act requires that those who have responsibility for the welfare of experimental animals have a higher duty of care than for animals in other situations.
Features of this part of the legislation include the licensing of research groups wanting to use animals and that projects involving animals cannot proceed without the approval of an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). Establishments, investigators and AECs must conduct their activities according to the Australian Code of Practice referred to above. Each licensed establishment must have an AEC to consider all proposals to use animals.
Department licenses and monitors use of animals in scientific procedures.
Act and Regulations
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986
Version incorporating amendments as at 1 July 2014
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008 (Principal Regulations)
Version incorporating amendments as at 1 November 2014
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Domestic Fowl) Regulations 2016
Version incorporating amendments as at 4 October 2016
Governing Orders and Notices
Recognition of interstate court bans on animal ownership
Areas where large leghold traps for foxes and wild dogs may be used
Period animal may be left alive in large leghold traps in certain circumstances (expires 30 June 2016)
Conditions on use of glue traps by commercial pest control operators
Approved Hunting Organisations
- Hunt Clubs Association of Victoria Inc.
- Gippsland Riders & Friends
- Tocumwal Hunt Club Inc
The Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals in Hunting defines an approved organisation as one that promotes ethical hunting and compliance of members with the code by:
- Developing hunter education and proficiency testing programs and encouraging members to participate in these programs
- Using practice ranges so that members may use simulated targets to develop proficiency. New members or novices should practice before using firearms or bows in hunting
- Appointing sufficient numbers of experienced members as field officers so that the hunting activities of members can be adequately assessed
- Providing an annual report of the hunting activities of members (and the registration of hounds, if applicable) to the department.