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New welfare act for “sentient beings”

New welfare act for “sentient beings”

The Victorian Government is introducing a new Animal Welfare Act in 2019 that recognises animals as sentient beings, which sense fear and feel pain.

It will replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, after “close consultation with key stakeholders”, the government says.

Amid a series of changes relating to animal welfare, the government will also establish a public-sector group, which will oversee domestic animal and animal welfare research, policy, education and compliance.

Overseen by Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford, Animal Welfare Victoria – expected to be up-and-running by February – will deliver $500,000 in animal welfare grants to non-profit community organisations in its first year.

“Whether it’s in our industries, in our communities, in our homes or in the wild, the community rightly expects we do the right thing by animals,” Ms Pulford said. “Animal Welfare Victoria will ensure that wherever animals are, their wellbeing and welfare is a priority.”

The group will publish an annual animal welfare report that outlines achievements, challenges and actions regarding better animal welfare outcomes in Victoria.

SSAA Victoria will investigate any potential impacts on hunting, and determine whether it will be consulted as a stakeholder. It will update members as the story develops.