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GPO Box 2259, Canberra ACT 2601

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Animal Defenders Office: FACT SHEETS 

FACT SHEETS

So you want to know whether puppy farms are banned anywhere in Australia? Or you want to set up an animal sanctuary?  Or you want to head down to Victoria to rescue ducks during the duck shooting season but don't know what offences and penalties might apply if you enter the wetlands?...  

 

The Animal Defenders Office has a number of fact sheets on these topics and more.  The fact sheets are designed to clarify the law affecting animals, and to help you help animals.  

 

Looking for something that isn't covered? Let us know and we'll get onto it!

ADO volunteers Aryan and Alex with two new fact sheets at an ADO stall at the Cruelty Free Festival in Sydney

Rescuing ducks during VIC duck shooting season - offences and penalties

Every year the Victorian government sanctions the shooting of thousands of native ducks during the Victorian duck hunting season. Each year hundreds of animal defenders, including from the ACT, make their way out to the wetlands and waterways to rescue birds who have been injured and/or abandoned during the shooting season. This fact sheet sets out the offences and penalties that may apply to rescuers, and some of the shooters' rules the rescuers should know. It includes the changes to the law on 1 March 2018 requiring shooters actually to pick up the ducks they shoot (yes, they needed a law to tell them to do that), and 2019 penalty amounts. 

 

Click here for the fact sheet.

 

Do our animal welfare laws protect racehorses?

On the day of the 2017 Melbourne Cup, the horse Regal Monarch broke down in a preliminary race and was later put down.

From 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018, 119 racehorses died at the track as a result of racing in Australia.

Under Australian animal welfare laws, a person who ‘overrides, overdrives, overworks … or terrifies an animal’ which results in the death of the animal commits aggravated cruelty on that animal.

Why aren’t riders and trainers of horses like Regal Monarch prosecuted under animal welfare laws? Are other practices that involve racehorses and that have animal welfare concerns actually unlawful?

 

This fact sheet looks at how the law protects—or fails to protect—racehorses in the ACT and NSW. The fact sheet is available here.

 

Free-range, barn or cage eggs - is there a difference?

Can you debeak a free-range hen? Are free-range laying hens killed in a different way from cage hens? How many hens can you cram into a paddock and still call it 'free-range'?

 

Don't worry if you don't know the answer to these questions. There is considerable confusion about the definition of ‘free range’ when applied to eggs.
‘Free range’ suggests a ‘backyard chook’ scenario with more space than hens, and where the hens live out their lives on open pastures. Yet commercial ‘free range’ facilities can be crowded, providing hens with limited access to outside areas, trimming their beaks, and sending them off to slaughter with other hens once they stop producing a profitable quantity of eggs.

The purpose of this fact sheet is to explain how 'free-range', 'barn' and 'cage' eggs are defined in law. It also looks at whether those legal definitions reflect how egg-laying hens really live, and what is wrong with all of them. The fact sheet uses the ACT as a case study. The fact sheet is available here.

 

Animals in apartments - are they allowed in the ACT?

Are you frustrated at not being able to rent an apartment with your pet? Or have you been wondering whether the rules banning animals in your apartment block are legal?

 

This fact sheet looks at ACT laws regulating the keeping of animals in apartment blocks that are managed by owners corporations.

 

The fact sheet is available here.

 

Testing cosmetics on animals - is it legal in Australia?

This fact sheet will test just how much you know about animal cosmetic testing in Australia. For example, does Australia test cosmetics on animals? Are there laws that actually ban animal testing for cosmetics in any Australian State or Territory? If not, have any of the major political parties in Australia introduced bills to ban animal cosmetic testing? Find out the answers to these questions and more in our fact sheet, available here.

 

Assistance animals - what are they and are they protected?

‘Assistance animals’ are different from ‘companion animals’. A companion animal is a pet, like the family pet dog or cat or rabbit. An assistance animal is an animal who has been specifically trained to help their keeper with a medical or physical condition that the keeper has.

What does it take to make an animal an 'assistance animal'? Does an assistance animal have to be a dog? Are people and their assistance animals protected by our discrimination laws? Can you have an assistance animal in rental accommodation?

For answers to these and other questions, click here for our fact sheet.

 

Keeping native animals as pets: is it legal?

In February 2017 Australia's Threatened Species Commissioner suggested ‘patriotic’ Australians should be allowed to keep native animals as pets.

This fact sheet looks at whether keeping a native wild animal as a pet is legal in the Australian Capital Territory. It also considers how keeping native animals as pets may not be in the best interests of the animals, or even the environment.

 

Click here for a fact sheet looking at legal and welfare issues associated with keeping native animals as pets in the Australian Capital Territory.

The status of puppy farms in Australia: are they banned?

It seems that every other day there's another news story about dogs being kept in miserable conditions on puppy farms in Australia. For example,
nearly 100 dogs and other animals were seized from an alleged puppy breeding facility near Goondiwindi in Queensland.

Many assume puppy farms are banned in Australia. Are they? If not, are governments doing anything to stamp out the intensive breeding of dogs? What are the reforms that the Victorian Government made in December 2017?

 

These fact sheets explain the current laws and animal welfare standards that apply to dog breeders in Australia generally, and in the Australian Capital Territory in particular.

 

Click here for a fact sheet summarising the legal status of puppy farms in Australia.

Click here for a fact sheet on the legal status of puppy farms in the Australian Capital Territory.

Greyhound racing in NSW and the ACT - what is happening?

In 2016 NSW became the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban greyhound racing in law. Less than seven weeks later the ban was overturned.

 

On 28 November 2017 the ACT became the second Australian jurisdiction to pass laws to ban greyhound racing. Will it be the first actually to implement the ban and shut the industry down?

 

This fact sheet looks at the status of greyhound racing in NSW and the ACT, with a timeline of all the bans and backflips.

Click here for the fact sheet.

 

The Australian Government's plan to kill 2 million cats

The Australian Government has announced it will work with the States and Territories to kill 2 million cats in Australia over 5 years. This controversial plan is the Government's response to Australia's alarming rate of species decline and extinction.

 

In this Fact Sheet the ADO looks at the legalities of the proposed killing methods and some non-lethal alternatives such as Trap, Neuter, Release programs, the reliability of the data used to determine cat numbers, and the failure of the plan to acknowledge the key role humans play in biodiversity loss and species extinction.

Click here for the fact sheet.

 

'Animal cruelty' complaints - a guide

What does the law consider to be 'animal cruelty'?

If you neglect an animal, is that 'cruelty' under the law?

What are the maximum penalties for animal cruelty and neglect in Australia?

Am I legally obliged to report animal cruelty or neglect if I know it is happening?

How do I report animal cruelty or neglect? Do I have to give my name and details?

Who can investigate animal cruelty - the RSPCA? The police?

What if I have a complaint against the RSPCA - who can I complain to?

 

These questions and more are answered in our guide to animal cruelty complaints.​ Click here for the fact sheet.

 

Pet ownership disputes - what can you do?

​In Australia animals are categorised as 'personal property' that can be owned. But sometimes it's not clear who owns a pet. Sometimes the pet may be registered in someone else's name, but that person isn't the real owner, or keeper, of the pet. Sometimes the pet decides for him or herself that s/he wants a different keeper.

 

How do you go about proving 'ownership' of a pet? If a pet is registered in a person's name, does it always mean that person will be the pet's owner? What do you do if the pet isn't registered or microchipped at all?

 

This fact sheets considers pet ownership, and provides a useful checklist for when you need to prove a companion animal belongs to you.
 

Click here for the fact sheet.

 

Ag-gag laws in Australia

This fact sheet takes a look at the situation regarding ag-gag laws in Australia. Do we have any actual ag-gag laws? What are the proposed ag-gag laws in this country? Where are they up to?

 

For answers to these and other questions, click here for a fact sheet about ag-gag laws in Australia.

Is 'pig dogging' legal in NSW or the ACT?

Ever wondered whether it's legal to use dogs to hunt pigs? This gruesome practice is known as 'pig dogging', and the ADO's fact sheet looks at the laws regarding the use of dogs in pig hunting in NSW and the ACT. Is it legal? Does it matter whether the pigs are hunted on public or private land?

 

For answers to these and other questions, click here for a fact sheet about the laws on 'pig dogging' in NSW and the ACT.

Defending kangaroos in the ACT - offences, penalties, and rangers' powers

Over the past decade the ACT Government has ordered the shooting of thousands of healthy wild kangaroos living in ACT nature reserves.  Many people oppose the Government's actions and voice their opposition outside the nature reserves where the killing takes place. This fact sheet outlines what powers ACT rangers have, and the ACT laws that may be used against kangaroo defenders. It includes case studies where kangaroo defenders have been prosecuted in ACT courts.

 

Click here for the fact sheet.

Where can I walk my dog in the ACT?

In 2016 rules about where you need to have your dog on a leash changed in the ACT. The rules apply to dogs in parks or on footpaths, cycleways, sportsgrounds, etc. The same rules should apply across Canberra.  

 

To find out about the rules, and the associated fines for non-compliance, click here for our fact sheet.

Can I keep an orphaned fox as a pet in NSW or the ACT?

What happens if an orphaned wild fox comes into your care? What is the legal status of rescued foxes in the ACT and NSW? Can you keep the fox at your home as a pet? Do you need a licence?

 

For answers to these and other questions, click here for a fact sheet about the laws on keeping foxes as pets in NSW and the ACT. [Fact sheet currently being revised due to changes in ACT law].

Is factory farming banned in the ACT?

In March 2014 the ACT Government made history by introducing bans on certain aspects of intensive factory farming.  But how far do these bans actually go? Do they amount to a 'ban on factory farming' itself?  This fact sheet explains the amendments to the law, and answers some of these important questions. 

 

Click here for the fact sheet.

Animals on sale in the ACT - how is their welfare protected?



This fact sheet explains the mandatory Code of Practice for selling animals in the ACT - what it means for the animals and what it means for you.

 

The fact sheet is available here.​

  

How to set up your own animal sanctuary or organisation

These fact sheets give you a step-by-step guide to setting up your own animal sanctuary in NSW (other jurisdictions to follow!).

 

If you want to set up a sanctuary with all types of animals, click here.

 

If you want to set up a sanctuary to look after Australian native animals, click here.

 

How to get Deductible Gift Recipient status for your animal charity

Been wondering whether donations to your animal charity can be tax deductible?  This fact sheet explains the different types of animal charities that are eligible for 'Deductible Gift Recipient' status, and how to go about applying for it.  
 

The fact sheet is available here.​

 

What are my responsibilities as a dog or cat keeper in the ACT?

Fact sheets on these topics are available at our stalls - make sure you call by one soon!​​