Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New animal welfare and farm trespass legislation comes into operation: Quigley, Jarvis

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The Hon. John Quigley, Attorney General (WA), The Hon. Jackie Jarvis, Minister for Agriculture and Food (WA), Joint Media Release, 21 April 2023

The maximum penalty for individuals charged with illegally entering a premise used for commercial animal farming or slaughter has been doubled and the availability of misconduct restraining orders expanded under the McGowan Government’s new animal welfare and trespass laws.

Offenders will now face a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of $24,000 if found guilty of the new offence of aggravated trespass.

Additionally, if a court chooses not to sentence an adult offender to prison, it must impose a minimum penalty of a fine and community order.

As part of the reform package, improvements to the Animal Welfare Act 2002 have also been made. Designated inspectors will have the power to enter certain facilities to monitor their compliance with animal welfare requirements. These powers will be available in respect of abattoirs, knackeries and intensive food production facilities, such as intensive egg and poultry farms and piggeries.

Previously, the Act only permitted inspectors to enter these places by consent, under a warrant, or where the inspector reasonably suspected that an offence has been, is being, or is likely to be committed at the place.

The new laws are aimed at protecting the agricultural sector, in particular farming families, by strengthening the penalties for those who trespass on farms to interfere with animal food production while also providing for the proactive inspection of abattoirs, knackeries and intensive food production facilities.

Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:

“The Government’s new laws strike a balance between protecting our agricultural sector and ensuring that the community can have confidence in the animal welfare practices employed by the sector.

“By enhancing the existing animal welfare inspection regime, animal advocates will no longer be able to use lack of transparency in abattoirs and other intensive production facilities as a reason for their illegal actions, and they will face far greater consequences should they break the law.”

Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis:

“The McGowan Government is committed to enhancing animal welfare in Western Australia, which is a priority for consumers and global markets.

“This legislation will not only protect WA farmers and their families but also assist our primary industries to satisfy community expectations.

“A strong and transparent animal welfare system is imperative to support the long-term vitality and sustainability of our agricultural sector.”

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