NSW Animal Welfare Reform Discussion Paper Clarification

AFTA recently sought clarification from the NSW Department of Primary Industries regarding some references made in the Animal Welfare Reform Discussion Paper. Deputy Director General, Sean Sloan, was kind enough to send the below reply.

The existing POCTA (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) defence (at section 24 1 (b)) which applies to fishing, is as follows:

In the course of, and for the purpose of—

(i) hunting, shooting, snaring, trapping, catching or capturing the animal, or

(ii) destroying the animal, or preparing the animal for destruction, for the purpose of

producing food for human consumption,

in a manner that inflicted no unnecessary pain upon the animal, 

This defence has been in POCTA since 1979 and as previously advised, it is proposed to be retained in the new legislation. The defence applies to all offences in relation to an animal, which would include causing psychological harm.

The term ‘unnecessary’ is not defined in the Act and so would be taken to have its ordinary meaning. At this stage, there are no plans to define ‘unnecessary’ in the new Act. The Act provisions generally apply to all animals, so it would be impractical to outline what ‘unnecessary’ pain is for each animal class and activity.

Our intent for the new Act is to remove any doubt that fishing would be considered an offence. It’s too early in the drafting process to say what this will look like in legislation, but we have proposed to add the term “fishing” to the defence provision currently outlined at S.24b, for the avoidance of doubt.

All stakeholders will be invited to review and comment on the draft legislation when it is published in the coming months so all of the wording questions can be further reviewed by stakeholders.​