2014 News

For Information: The Australian Animal Welfare Guidelines for Companion Animals

Date: 01st April

Work Group: Pets & Companion Animals

The development of nationally consistent arrangements for animal welfare is a key goal under the AAWS. Currently each state and territory manages cats and dogs in different ways. Protection for cats and dogs comes down to cruelty offences. Having one set of nationally consistent guidelines will reduce confusion for companion animal owners and the industry and will enable people to know what is or isn’t acceptable treatment of animals.

This project will develop draft national cat and dog guidelines, based on codes of practice that are already in place in Victoria, as well as on regulations in place in other states and territories. They will give pet owners clear information about their responsibilities for the health and well being of their pets.

Current situation

This project was identified as a priority by the AAWS Companion Animals Working Group (CAWG) to assist implementation of the AAWS goals and objectives in the pets and companion animal sector. The draft guidelines for the private keeping of dogs and cats are currently being considered by the CAWG and the Sub Committee on Animal Welfare (SCAW) prior to broader consultation. SCAW is the subordinate technical committee of the Animal Welfare Committee, which is a national committee that sets animal welfare policy under the COAG framework.

Next step

The final draft guidelines will be available for broader comment via website and promotion. Once endorsed, they will provide a useful national benchmark for the private keeping of dogs and cats. It is not intended that they would become regulated standards under state and territory legislation, but jurisdictions may use them as a useful guide.