Animal Welfare Advisory Committee

The functions of the advisory committee include:

  • advising the minister about animal welfare legislation and other matters relevant to animal welfare
  • investigating and reporting on matters relevant to the animal welfare referred to it by the minister
  • participating in the development of codes of practice and the review of adopted codes of practice
  • providing advice to bodies, organisations or the general community on programs for the improvement of community awareness about animal welfare
  • any other functions prescribed by the regulations.

The advisory committee must hold at least two meetings each year.

The advisory committee must submit an annual report to the minister on or before 30 September each year in relation to the financial year ending on the preceding 30 June.

The recently developed Australian animal welfare strategy has identified enhanced national consistency in regulation and sustainable improvements in animal welfare based on science, national and international benchmarks and changing community standards as areas of priority effort.

Work is now underway to update the model codes of practice and convert them into Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines. The new documents will incorporate both national welfare standards and industry best practice guidelines for each species or enterprise.

In an effort to comprehensively cover all animal management sectors, new standards and guidelines will also be created where model codes of practice did not exist.

All states and territories in Australia are working toward consistent standards and guidelines for animal welfare. Find further information on the Animal Welfare Standard website.

Codes of practice

Under the Act, the minister may adopt a code of practice relating to animal welfare, or vary or revoke an adapted code of practice. Codes of practice set out best practice standards for the care, welfare and management of animals.


The Australian Government has issued a code of practice on the humane treatment of wild and farmed Australian crocodiles. As the Australian crocodile industry continues to grow it is important that a nationally consistent set of minimum standards for the humane treatment of crocodiles is in place. The recommended standards are based on current knowledge about crocodile welfare issues and what is currently thought to be best practice in humane handling techniques.

This code is intended primarily for use by individuals or companies licensed by relevant state or territory authorities to: capture and/or take crocodiles and eggs from the wild (i.e. private or public lands); to keep crocodiles for commercial raising or captive breeding; to kill crocodiles; or, to incubate eggs in controlled conditions.

Shooting of kangaroos and wallabies

The national code of practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for commercial purposes and the national code of practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for non-commercial purposes sets achievable standards of humane conduct and is the minimum required of persons shooting kangaroos and wallabies.

These codes have been produced to ensure that all persons intending to shoot free-living kangaroos or wallabies undertake the shooting so that the animal is killed in a way that minimises pain and suffering.

Model codes of practice

For Australia’s livestock industries there are model codes of practice for the welfare of animals which provides principles and practices for animal welfare.

Commissioned by the Primary Industries Standing Committee and available on the CSIRO website, these codes largely serve as (voluntary) guides for people responsible for the welfare and husbandry of a range of livestock animals:

Other animal welfare guidelines

Retail pet shops

The Northern Territory has a code of practice that sets the standard expected of retail pet shops for the care, management and trade of companion animals called guidelines for the care and welfare of animals in retail pet shops PDF (104.3 KB).

The code of practice was developed in consultation with the Pet Industry Association of Australia and the Northern Territory Animal Welfare Advisory Committee.

Retail pet store business owners, managers and their staff should understand and comply with all relevant aspects of the code of practice.

Caged birds

The Northern Territory guidelines for the care and welfare of caged birds PDF (69.8 KB) provide the basic requirements for humane care of birds held in captivity.

The aims of the guidelines are to:

  • promote the humane and considerate treatment of birds and the use of good husbandry practices
  • inform people responsible for the care and management of caged birds of their obligations
  • provide the community with a set of guidelines for the care of caged birds.

Owners of birds are strongly encouraged to read and implement these guidelines.

Transportation of animals

Meat and Livestock Australia has produced a national guide to the selection of animals fit to transport. This guide has been developed in consultation with the livestock industry to help you decide if an animal is fit to be loaded for transport to sale yards, abattoirs, or any other destination.

Good preparation of all livestock is essential to prevent suffering during transport. The relevant husbandry and transport codes recommend, and export standards legislate, how livestock should be prepared for transport, including rest periods and feed and water withholding periods.

Australian standards for export of livestock

Any person involved in the export of livestock, from farm to vessel, must comply with the new Australian standards for export of livestock produced by Animal Health Australia. The welfare standards and guidelines are based on the revision of the model codes of practice for the welfare of animals available on the CSIRO website.

Beef cattle feedlots

In 2002, the Primary Industries Standing Committee released the national guidelines for beef cattle feedlots in Australia to assist the sustainable development of the growing feedlot industry and provide guidelines for animal welfare.

Further information about Australia-wide animal welfare guidelines, go to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.

Last updated: 14 July 2021

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