Animal Welfare Act 2002 —Breaches

Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL —Tuesday, 11 September 2012]
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Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Robyn McSweeney
Animal Welfare Act 2002 —Breaches
5755. Hon Lynn MacLaren to the Minister for Child Protection representing the Minister for Agriculture and Food
(1) Will the Minister please identify what the Department of Agriculture has budgeted to spend on prosecutions for breaches of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 in the 2012–2013 financial year?
(2) Will the Minister please identify — the current status all animal welfare investigations commenced since the Department of Agriculture assumed jurisdiction in respect of the Animal Welfare Act 2002;
(b) the amount allocated in the 2012–2013 Budget to finalise the investigations referred to in (2)(a);
(c) the current status of all animal welfare investigations which had been commenced but not completed prior to the Department of Agriculture assuming jurisdiction in respect of the Animal Welfare Act 2002; and
(d) the amount allocated in the 2012–2013 to finalise the investigations referred to in (2)(c)?
(3) Given that a fish is not defined as an animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 —
(a) will the Minister please identify what statutory protection exists to regulate the welfare of fish;
(b) what measures does the Department of Fisheries plan to take in the 2012–2013 financial year to promote the welfare of fish, and how much has been budgeted in respect of these measures; and
(c) has the Minister considered defining a fish as an animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 to correct this deficiency in the Act?
Hon ROBYN McSWEENEY replied:
(1) The Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) has a budget of $1,012,000 for the operational expenses of the Livestock Compliance Unit (LCU) in 2012–13, which includes the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act 2002.DAFWA does not specifically identify funds for prosecutions as a separate item. Prosecutions for breaches of the Animal Welfare Act 2002 are conducted by the State Solicitors Office (SSO) and not DAFWA.
(2) (a) Since assuming responsibility for the Animal Welfare Act 2002, the LCU have instigated investigations into 71 animal cruelty reports. Of these investigations, 12 are ongoing. The remainder have been dealt with through education supported by warning letters, management plans and direction notices.
(b) Operating costs are met from the LCU budget and prosecution costs are met by the SSO.
(c)–(d) All unfinished complaints transferred to DAFWA have been either referred to the RSPCA or assessed and managed within the LCU. A number of prosecutions are currently before the Courts.
(3) (a) There are powers within the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 to prescribe measures to prevent cruelty to fish and to provide for the welfare, safety and health of fish.
(b) This is a matter for the Minister for Fisheries.
(c) No