Animals & Law

The use of the term ‘Animal Law’ is consistently being misused by animal extremists. This is most prevalent in courses being offered within our universities, where animal rights activists have successfully made their way into the teaching roles and have re-orchestrated the structure of the courses away from the traditional aspects of law and drastically increased the philosophical argument in order to indoctrinate the next generations of the legal profession. 

The most complex and sought after change being pursued is the removal of ‘the property status of animals’ and providing animals with ‘personhood’ rights. Activists refer to this as animal guardianship, rather than animal ownership. Many of us within the dog and cat breeding communities will recognise ‘guardianships’ as something completely different.

The current use of guardianship agreements within the pet breeding community is strongly opposed by the animal rights extremists and activists, and for good reason, they want to lay claim to the use of guardianship which is of course, a stark conflict.

The removal of animal ownership to ’personhood’ (guardianship) rights will have significant legal ramifications and will impact on the right to own any animal.

Animal ’personhood’ will require a third person being appointed to intervene in decisions regarding the care and welfare of our animals, and ultimately this could result in the government or other ’appointed associations’ such as the RSPCA, taking full responsibility for the wellbeing of your animals. 

This will allow them to legally act on behalf of the animals that you (once) owned and potentially the right to take legal action against you if you are deemed not to be acting in the best interest of the animal. This would extend far beyond the current powers of animal welfare law compliance, as it would likely include all decision making rights currently held by you (as the owner), such as decisions on medical treatment or terminally ill animals being challenged, including early intervention to euthanise your animal before you wish to do so, or to place your animal under prolonged medical treatments if they believe you have not exhausted all the options. The ramifications are endless and frightening.

Animal Care Australia opposes the removal of your rights to own, keep and breed animals.

Office (and Minister) of Animal Welfare

The Animal Rights movement is fixated on introducing an Independent Office of Animal Protection (IOAP).  They are targeting both federal & state/territory governments for this to be introduced.

Animal Care Australia does not support this because of their public statements regarding the responsibilities of the IOAP, that primarily being, “With the power of an IOAP, the Animal Justice Party will enable the current conflicts of animal and human interests to be removed, and for animals to have better protection under law.”*

When combining this with their position on providing animals with ‘personhood’ rights, this creates numerous flaws and legislative nightmares for those of us who keep pets and companion animals.
Exacerbating our concerns further is the following statement:

The IOAP will promote animal rights on farms and in other related industries, and prosecute offenders”.

Excerpt from the Animal Justice Party 2022 Federal Election Platform document.

Effectively the IOAP will be an office of animal rights enforcement. This is something we must avoid at all costs.

Animal Care Australia strongly advocates for federal and state recognition and funding to ensure the development of consistent laws throughout Australia.

An Office (and Minister) of Animal Welfare?

Far too long pets and animal welfare have been forgotten by our governments. Today Animal Care Australia implores our governments to start recognising the importance of our pets and animals in our lives. Within Australian politics, there are several parties pushing for some form of Office for Animal Welfare to effectively remove the perceived conflict between animal welfare and agriculture – or agribusiness as the animal rights activists prefer to use. The reality is with Labor, The Greens, the Animal Justice Party and other smaller parties all actively lobbying for such a separation, the continued enhancement of animal welfare must include the development of animal welfare departments within the Federal and State governments – not independent to, where they can be more easily infiltrated by animal rights ideologies.

Animal Care Australia would support an Office and Minister for Animal Welfare if:

  • the current Chief Animal Welfare Officers and their departmental staff were moved into this new Office
  • all animal welfare legislation enforcement officers reported to and were held directly accountable by the Chief Animal Officer (or a similarly designated senior staff position) and not a charitable or privately run organisation
  • the determination of whether a prosecution of an alleged offence of animal cruelty would only progress if assessed and approved by either the Department of Public Prosecutions or the Chief Animal Welfare Officer (or a similarly designated senior staff position)
  • a Minister for Animal Welfare and the Office must report annually via a Parliamentary Inquiry in order to ensure full transparency and accountability

Their responsibility must include a full review of all legislation including:

  • to clearly define and implement appropriate legislative safeguards to ensure the ongoing and ethical breeding of pets and companion animals while identifying and prosecuting those who breed unethically
  • probate and guardianship laws for after the death or incapacitation of their carer
  • reforms to the family law system to consider animal welfare during divorce proceedings and make it easier for victims to amend animal registration and microchipping details without alerting the perpetrator as to their whereabouts
  • provide resources including homing opportunities for victims of domestic violence to remain together without needing to be separated
  • review environmental and land clearing legislation to include the mandatory inclusion of native wildlife animal welfare concerns into environmental impact reviews prior to and overriding of any clearing of lands
  • regularly review the animal agriculture industry while continuing to implement new initiatives and technologies for the advancement of animal welfare outcomes

Animal Care Australia conditionally supports an Office and Minister for Animal Welfare

Domestic Violence and animals

For some people who experience family violence, their pets become a significant tool used against them, effectively forcing them into making the decision to leave without the pet, risk the pets’ lives or persevere and continue the lifetime of abuse on both themselves and their pets.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that most rental homes and refuges around Australia still do not permit animals.

Our laws must be brought up to date and community expectation to allow the human and animal victims access to rental and supported accommodation. For many people their pets are their last remaining hope of comfort and a foreseeable future. Law enforcement and community organisations are not empowered to be proactive in the cases of family violence against pets. Animal Care Australia supports and will fight for reforms to protect all victims of domestic and family violence – both human and animal.

We will continue to lobby for legislative changes to ensure their safety is not jeopardised or compromised by the perpetrators of family and domestic violence who threaten them with harm in order to make family members comply.

Pets (animals) in hot vehicles

Animal Care Australia  highlights this should cover all animals and not be restricted just to dogs.

Equally Animal Care Australia supports the inclusion of exemptions for working dogs being used for working livestock as well as the additional consideration of ambient temperatures and the length of time involved, as part of any proposed or introduced legislation.

Animal Care Australia supports protecting animals from experiencing this kind of irresponsible neglect!

Animal Care Australia strongly supports ongoing legislative review of laws pertaining to and protecting of animals and their welfare.