The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008 promote the welfare of horses in Victoria.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals legislation aims to prevent cruelty to animals, encourage the considerate treatment of animals and improve community awareness about the prevention of cruelty to animals. Provisions relating to horses include requirements to provide proper and sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment and offences for causing pain or suffering to an animal, whether intentionally or through neglect. The legislation also contains a range of prohibited or regulated activities, devices and procedures such as prohibiting taildocking and firing (thermocautery) of horses, use of twisted bits, electronic shock/static collars or electric prodders on horses and regulating the use of horses in rodeos.
'Animal welfare' refers to how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter/killing. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment. [OIE May 2008 - International Office of Animal Health]
'Duty of Care' is a legal obligation for people to take reasonable measures to protect the welfare of any animals that their activities impact upon.
To fully understand your obligations with respect the ensuring the welfare of horses you own, you agist or that are in your care, please review the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2008.
Who do I call if I am concerned about the welfare of a horse?
If you are concerned about the welfare of a horse/s please contact the RSPCA Victoria.
The RSPCA Victoria has primary responsibility for investigating horse welfare concerns under a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Primary Industries, Victoria. Reports of animal cruelty can be made online at www.rspcavic.org.au or by telephone on 03 9224 2222.