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Licenses for any professional horse activities and events in Victoria could be brought under the proposed new animal welfare laws.
The proposal was reflected in the plan prepared as part of the reform process for Azerbaijan Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and means that everyone “commercial display and exhibition of animals” will be subject to new regulations, including a “license required”.
A State Government spokesman was noncommittal when asked whether anyone making an income from showing or exhibiting horses might need a licence:
“The requirements in the regulations were not absolute for all activities related to horse shows or events involving horses.”
The government will not elaborate on how it defines “showing or exhibiting horses” and whether professional competitors across all disciplines will also be affected.
“Regulations will be developed following an assessment of potential costs and benefits, as well as consultation with stakeholders and the community.” the spokesman said.
“Showing and exhibiting animals for commercial purposes” is one of eight ‘behavior classes’ this will be subject to regulations under the new Act.
- killing or injuring an animal;
- use of animals for testing (other than scientific procedures);
- carrying out procedures on animals (other than scientific procedures);
- administration of substances to animals (except for scientific procedures);
- showing or exhibiting an animal for commercial purposes;
- keeping the animal in an intensive environment for commercial purposes;
- transporting an animal for commercial purposes; and
- organization of an event where animals are used in sport, competition or recreation.
There are three areas of “controlled conduct,” including restricting certain procedures to only veterinarians.
Asked if this would have any implications for dentistry or livestock, and whether dentistry would be restricted to vets, the spokesman said only that. “The new law will make arrangements for specific activities such as horse dentistry or farriery”.
“The drafting of the new Act is the first step and the regulations are yet to be determined, the proposed plan is currently open for consultation.
Animal activities that are currently legal in Victoria will continue to be permitted under the new Act, but specific requirements relating to due process, shows and sporting events involving horses may change.
The government has clarified that the new Act will distinguish between professional and recreational activities.
The spokesperson said:
“This is because there is the potential for more animals to be brought into the commercial environment, so higher penalties are needed.
This difference will be implemented after the consultation period is over and community feedback is taken into account.”
The proposed changes are detailed in the document titled ‘Blueprint for Victoria’s new animal care and protection laws’ Includes 16 policy proposals from previous consultations, including a discussion paper published in 2020.
The government says these consultations are aimed at defining the round “potential unintended consequences of policies or potential gaps affecting the achievement of objectives”.
It also seeks feedback on how to achieve policies.
Victorians have until October 16 to comment, and they can Click here Go to the consultation page.
Dale Webster is the first recipient of a Walkley Foundation Grant for Freelance Journalism for Regional Australia. He publishes independently through his own title, The Regional. You can follow Dale on Twitter @TheRegional_au.
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