Overview of the animal welfare codes of practice

Codes of practice

The codes of practice for animal welfare listed below are made under either the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA Act) or the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (DA Act).

Codes of practice set out recommended minimum standards and practices for the keeping of a wide range of species and animal related activities. They should be read in conjunction with other relevant legislation such as the DAA and POCTA Acts.

The requirements of all DA Act codes are mandatory.

Most POCTA Act codes are advisory only — unless made mandatory through specific recognition in legislation. Compliance with the provisions of POCTA codes can provide a defence to a prosecution under the POCTA Act.

Mandatory codes or standards are marked with an asterix*.

A range of Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for livestock are in development at a national level. It is anticipated that Australian standards and guidelines agreed to by Victoria will be adopted through the new proposed Animal Welfare Act. This legislation is currently under development.

Amphibians

This code outlines the welfare needs of amphibians kept in aquaria:

Birds

This code outlines the welfare needs of caged birds, other than poultry:

Cats

This code outlines the welfare needs of cats:

Cattle

This code outlines the welfare needs of cattle:

Deer

This code outlines the welfare needs of deer kept in captivity:

Dogs

These codes relate to dog ownership, debarking, restricted breeds, training establishment and racing. All, except for the private keeping code, are mandatory:

Dogs and cats

These mandatory codes relate to the operation of boarding establishments, breeding and rearing businesses and the management of dogs and cats in shelters and pounds:

Emus

This code outlines the welfare needs of all emus in captivity:

Electronic collars

This mandatory code specifies the requirements when training a dog or cat to the use of an electronic collar:

Exhibition of animals

This code outlines the welfare needs of wildlife and exotic animals held in confinement in zoos, wildlife parks, circuses and travelling exhibitions:

Film animals

This code outlines the welfare needs of animals in the production of films for cinemas, television, recreational or educational purposes, including features, documentaries, serials, videos and advertising commercials:

Goats

This code outlines the welfare needs of all goats:

Heritable defects

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 sets out offences for intentionally or recklessly breeding an animal with a heritable defect that causes disease as listed in the Act. This code sets out the mandatory requirements for prescribed diseases and recommended practice for responsible breeding of animals with other heritable defects:

Horses

Codes of practice for the welfare of horses, horses competing at bush races and horses at hire establishments:

Hunting

Codes of practice relating to the welfare of animals in hunting and on private game reserves licenced to hunt game birds:

Pet Shops

This mandatory code specifies the requirements for people who operate or who work in pet shops:

Pigs

The Pig Welfare Standards outlines the welfare needs for pigs:

Poultry

This code outlines the welfare needs for poultry:

Rabbits

This code outlines the welfare needs for domestic-type rabbits in intensive husbandry production systems:

Reptiles

This code outlines the welfare needs for private keeping of reptiles:

Saleyards

This code outlines the welfare needs for animals at saleyards:

Scientific procedures

These mandatory codes relate to the use of animals for scientific procedures and purposes, as well as the housing and care of these animals:

Sheep

This code outlines the welfare needs for sheep:

Tethering animals

This code outlines the welfare needs for tethered animals:

Transportation

These documents outline requirements relating to the welfare needs for livestock during transport:

Wildlife

This code outlines the welfare needs for animals undergoing all stages of wildlife rehabilitation:

Page last updated: 25 Aug 2020