The current Animal Welfare Act is out-dated and inadequate for ensuring the humane treatment of animals in Western Australia – be they our domestic companions, farm animals or our precious native wildlife.
The Act is currently reactionary only and focuses narrowly on offences relating to animal cruelty and abuse. It does not set out minimum standards for the humane treatment of animals, nor does it allow for conditions that allow animals to express their instinctive behaviours.
The Greens support the ‘Five Domains’ model – a framework for assessing the welfare of an individual or group of animals, looking at nutrition; environment; health; behaviour and their mental state. People who care for animals should be under the obligation of duty of care, and not appropriately caring for animals should be an offence. The Greens have long advocated for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, to be responsible for all matters relating to animal welfare at both a state and federal level.
Importantly, the non-Government agency responsible for enforcement of the Act – the RSPCA – must be granted improved powers of entry. Inspectors can currently only enter a property where animals are being kept if there is reason to believe an offence has occurred. They cannot enter properties to check whether people are complying with direction orders; whether people prohibited by the courts from being in charge of animals are complying; nor to assist animals which are distressed.
Alison’s submission to the review of the Animal Welfare Act can be viewed [here]