A very cute chicken chick in the hands of a person

Have your say: Victoria’s new animal protection laws.

Victoria is about to pass new animal protection legislation. But exemptions and loopholes within the proposed Act leave millions of animals exposed to cruelty. You can change this. Make your submission by Monday 25 March 2024.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated February 26, 2024

UPDATE: The survey and submission opportunity for Victoria’s animal care and protection laws has now closed. Thank you to those who took the time to speak out on behalf of animals across the State. The information below still reveals the current state of how animals are treated in Victoria. Read on to find out more about the issues. You can still help these animals. Write directly to your local State MP about your concerns, anytime.

Victoria’s upcoming draft Animal Care and Protection laws present a pivotal opportunity for animals across the State. While the Bill does bring some advancements, it also harbors hundreds of unjustifiable practices that perpetuate cruelty and suffering upon millions of sentient animals.

We now have a chance to help shape these laws, to make sure they provide protections for all animals.

The Victorian Government is keen to hear from you before this legislation is passed in parliament. Please let them know you want all animals to be provided with care, and protection from cruel practices, regardless of how they are being used by animal industries.

To make this process easier, we have created a list of the Top 10 issues within the proposed Act that need to end. By addressing these issues in your submission, you can help ‘call-out’ the parts that result in significant harm to animals. 

How to make your Submission

Update: The Victorian Government has extended the submission date. Submissions will now close Monday 25 March, 2024. 

  • The submission process has two parts. One for feedback on the proposed Animal Care and Protection Act, and the second for comment on the Codes of Practice and Regulations via a survey.
  • Commenting on the regulations is very important. Under the new draft legislation, Codes of Practice for the treatment of animals will become mandatory. This is a very good thing because the vast majority of Codes of Practice are not mandatory. But regulations are. Providing feedback on these codes and regulations allows you to highlight some of the cruelest practices you want stopped so they are not allowed into regulations associated with the new Act.  To make the strongest impact for animals, we recommend you provide comments on both the proposed new laws, and the Codes/Regulations.

Use the Submission Template

  • For a faster submission process, and to have your say on both parts in one document, download our Submission Template. The template features the Top 10 issues listed below which you can change into your own words if you wish.
  • Don’t be limited by the template – If you want to see more changes to the draft Act and regulations, please include these as well. Remember to save your submission in your own name before uploading to the submission website.
  • Once you’ve completed your submission, head to the Engage Victoria website. You’ll be asked to login or create an account to make a submission. This is normal, and only takes a few moments. Once registered, select ‘Participate’ then ‘Make a Submission’. Scroll down to the question at the bottom that asks ‘How would you like to make your submission‘ and select ‘ I will upload a document‘.
  • If you have any questions about making or uploading your submission, contact our friendly Animals Australia Team on 1800 888 584.

Fill out the Draft Bill Form and/or Regulations Survey online

  • Alternatively, you can head to the Engage Victoria website, and complete the draft Bill Form and/or the Regulations survey. You can use our Top 10 list below to help guide you on which regulations and practices are in need of significant improvement.

Top 10 issues that must be regulated out of existence.

1. Harmful exceptions, loopholes and ‘approved industry arrangements.’

In a very welcomed improvement, the proposed Act acknowledges that animals are sentient. While this was a hard-fought win, through submission processes just like this one, wording in the draft Act means that only some sentient animals receive protections from cruelty, while industry exemptions and other ‘exceptions’ permit cruelty to others.

Throughout the Act, the phrase ‘approved industry arrangements’, exempts industries from cruelty to millions of farmed animals – leaving sheep, goats, chickens, cattle, emus, pigs and others to suffer through painful mutilation, severe confinement, distressing living conditions, and terrifying slaughter.

Animals used for entertainment or ‘sport’ and scientific research also fall under ‘industry approved arrangements’ and are exempt from protections under the Act.

‘Exceptions’ is another term used everywhere in this Act. It unprotects and exposes millions of individual animals across Victoria to violence, fear, pain and in many cases, awful, prolonged deaths.

Here’s how the term ‘exceptions’ results in real-life impacts on thinking, feeling and sentient individuals across the State:

One ‘exception’ is highly toxic.

One ‘exception’ is highly toxic.

Under the draft Act, it’s illegal to administer a substance (poison or other), to animals. But one ‘exception’ means that 1080 poison can be used to kill unwanted wildlife or any animal deemed a ‘pest’ in Victoria.

  • 1080 poison is an odorless, tasteless white powder that is extremely lethal. The poison is disguised in baits or dropped as pellets across national parks, bushland and agricultural areas right across Victoria
  • 1080 is an indiscriminate killer. Native, and endangered wildlife like the spotted quoll, dingoes and others like wallabies and companion and guardian animals all fall victim to 1080 baits.
  • 1080 poison causes the most vile and excruciating death. Animals who ingest it then scream, vomit, defecate and suffer violent and prolonged seizures. They die with a final convulsion anywhere between 30 minutes and 72 hours after ingesting the poison. In some species, death can occur even later. There is no antidote.

1080 poison must never be used to poison any animal, and must be prohibited.  This lethal exception must be removed from this draft Act.

No animal should be exempt from protections based on how they are used or seen by an industry. Greyhounds used in racing have the same need for care and connection as any other dog. And a duck raised in a factory farm has the same natural needs and desires as their wild counterparts.

Any language that allows animals to be treated differently or exempt from protections based on human or industry use must be removed from this Bill.


Industry-certified schemes and co-regulation frameworks often prioritise industry interests over the animal’s needs, despite claims of upholding the ‘highest standards.’ Investigations have revealed instances where industry-certified schemes have led to some of the worst suffering for animals on record.

The method of gas-stunning pigs originated from an industry-certified accreditation scheme. Pigs are herded into metal cages and exposed to carbon dioxide which causes excruciating burning sensations in their lungs, eyes, and throats, until they ultimately suffocate. This industry method was not devised to reduce the suffering of pigs before slaughter, but rather to slaughter as many pigs as possible, at once.

Industry schemes often lack effective monitoring by responsible authorities, leaving countless animals vulnerable to suffering behind misleading industry-owned certification labels.

To safeguard animals from cruel practices permitted by industry certification and co-regulation, it is imperative to eliminate blanket exception for ‘approved industry arrangements’ from this Bill.
Instead, the focus should be on establishing legally binding regulations that prioritise animal’s needs over industry interests.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A ghostly grey image of two pigs inside a metal cage as it's being filled with carbon dioxide. One terrified pig is looking up gasping for air.
The cruel method of the gas chamber slaughter of pigs originated from an industry-certified accreditation scheme. It is imperative to completely eliminate industry accreditation schemes and co-regulation from the Bill.
Image credit: Farm Transparency Project

Sow stalls, also known as ‘gestation crates,’ confine pregnant mother pigs, severely restricting their movement to a mere step forward or back. These stalls deprive mother pigs of basic freedoms, causing painful injuries, stress, and social isolation.

Farrowing crates confine mother pigs to a space barely larger than a bathtub during birthing and nursing. Like sow stalls, these crates offer minimal room for movement, preventing mother pigs from interacting with their piglets and inhibiting natural maternal behaviours. The prolonged use of these confinement methods not only cause painful sores and injury but also takes a toll on the mental well-being of both the mother pig and her piglets, leading to distress, depression and illness.

To improve the welfare of these intelligent, empathic and social animals, this Act must phase out the use of sow stalls and farrowing crates for mother pigs.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Sad pig mothers are looking out of the sow stalls
To improve the welfare of these intelligent, empathic and social animals, this Act must phase out the use of sow stalls and farrowing crates for mother pigs.

Young lambs often have the skin around their buttocks and the base of their tail cut off with a pair of metal shears (to reduce soiling and the risk of flystrike). This is a very painful procedure that often does more harm, than good.  The large, open wound created by mulesing can take many weeks to heal and during this time, lambs suffer pain and are at added risk of infection and flystrike.

While Victoria is the only state to regulate pain relief for mulesing, it is a painful procedure that causes suffering long, after the pain relief has worn off and must be prohibited.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

close up image of mulesed lamb
Mulesing is a cruel and unnecessary procedure that causes suffering long after the pain relief has worn off. Until it's prohibited, mulesing should only be performed by a qualified veterinarian.

The Act prohibits tail docking of horses and dogs, but regulations still permit cutting the tails off factory farmed piglets, as well as sheep and cattle to have their tails cut off, without any pain relief.

  • Tail docking is an unjustifiable and painful mutilation that should never be performed on any animal.
  • Piglets have a lot of feeling in their tail – studies show that even after the tail has been cut, the piglet can still feel acute, and long-lasting pain in their tail stump. We know that the pain associated with these procedures lasts longer than just the time when they are performed” (Sandercock et al 2019).
  • Piglets also have their teeth ‘clipped’ or cut incase they bite too hard and injure each other. Trapped in a farrowing crate, a mother pig is unable to bond or intervene as she normally would with her piglets. Without her natural guidance, some piglets may develop unusual aggression towards another, leading to fights and severe injuries. Rather than address the root cause, that is the terrible confines of factory farms, the industries answer is to clip the teeth of piglets – a painful procedure where they are not provided any pain relief.

All of these procedures cause pain and suffering and must be prohibited.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Sheep and cattle can have their horns and tails cut off and piglets can be castrated and have their teeth cut – without being given any pain relief. All of these procedures cause pain and suffering and must be prohibited.

Chick shredding or maceration, is a practice that sees millions of male chicks dropped into a metal machine and ground up alive on their first day of life. If they are not shredded, chicks are sent to be gassed at one day old. These standard practices happen in all commercial egg production systems – whether they come from RSPCA approved, free range, cage or barn laying systems.

To this day, millions of hens raised to produce eggs are crammed into tiny ‘battery’ cages, forced to live in a space the size of an iPad for their entire egg-laying lives. At around 18 months they are considered ‘spent’ and sent to slaughter. Deprived of a life worth living and unable to express their natural behaviours, hens can become frustrated and depressed, and can peck each others feathers. Rather than stop the intense confinement of hens in cages, hens and turkey have their sensitive tips of their beaks cut or trimmed, without being given any pain relief.

Beak cutting, day-old chick maceration and gassing, and cramming sensitive, gentle hens into cages must be prohibited.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Tiny yellow chicks, bred into the egg industry, going over the side of a conveyor belt into a macerator.
The brutal shredding of day-old chicks, break cutting and cramming hens into cages are all cruel practices that are routine in the egg industry and that must be prohibited.

Piglets raised in factory farms who are sick or injured are killed by having their heads smashed onto a concrete floor. This is a violent act often done in full view of the mother pig and the piglets’ siblings, as well as other factory farm workers.

This is an unacceptable practice that must not be allowed by the regulations and must be considered an act of prosecutable cruelty.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Days old piglets huddled together.
‘Life’ for pigs in factory farms is already grim. But imagine a mother pig watching on helplessly as her piglets (who are deemed unwell) have their heads smashed to kill them. This outrageous, routine practice must be prohibited.

The forced swim test is a distressing and unnecessary practice. Mice and rats are placed into a cylinder of water too deep for them to stand in, making escape impossible. The test aims to see how long the mouse or rat will swim before they can just keep their head above water or gives up and floats to the surface. It relies on placing these small but intelligent and sensitive animals in inescapable danger and uncontrollable stress as they literally swim for their lives.

The forced inhalation tests squeezes mice and rats into narrow plastic tubes, forcing them to inhale toxic substances and chemicals for days and sometimes months on end. The test leads to pain, nausea, convulsions, inflammation, and in some cases, an agonising death.

On 14 March 2024, New South Wales became the first jurisdiction in the world to ban the forced swim and inhalation tests. This historic historic win will see these two inhumane testing methods used on rats and mice banned in NSW. These new laws provide Victoria with an opportunity to follow NSW’s lead, and ensure both tests are banned and prohibited under the new laws.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A white mouse in a laboratory
Mice are intelligent creatures with complex levels of communication. They use vocals often beyond the auditory range of humans. It’s also thought that mice empathise with other mice. Conducting tests on animals for scientific research where there are alternative tests available, must be expressly prohibited.

Electric shock devices

  • Electric shock devices like prods and collars, are used on various animals, including dogs, cats, and cows. The electric shock causes cause pain, discomfort, leading to fear, anxiety, and mental distress. Studies show that reward-based methods are far more effective than electric shock collars. Electronic prods should never be used on horses and cows used in rodeo events.
  • Electric prods are used to move animals like pigs around paddocks and during transport, and used during rodeos on horse and cows stationary in the chute, to make them feel fear, pain and buck in distress.

Snares and traps

  • These cruel devices are used to catch wildlife like dingoes or introduced animals like rabbits. Some animals caught in a killing snare could become unconscious and die within a few minutes, but many live for several hours or days after being caught, trapped by their body or limbs. They often suffer a prolonged, terrifying and painful death. All snares and traps must be prohibited because they cause frightening, painful and prolonged deaths and their use cannot be justified under any circumstances. 

Painful procedures, without pain relief 

  • Cattle can currently have their sensitive horns cut off without pain relief
  • Calves can currently be castrated under 8 months old without pain relief or a vet.
  • Cattle and horses are currently allowed to be branded by burning, freezing or applying a caustic chemical, all without pain relief, causing unacceptable pain and suffering. These archaic methods should be replaced with newer, less painful identification technologies. When alternatives are not available or possible, the use of analgesics must be considered for branding.

No-one would ever accept that a cat or dog should endure burns, cuts or surgeries without any pain relief or veterinary support, and the same consideration must be made for other sentient animals. The regulations must mandate pain relief for any invasive procedure.

Flank Straps and other methods to make animals buck

Flank straps, electric prods, and any other methods used to make horses and cows buck for rodeo is unacceptable. It forces each animal into a state of fear, panic and pain. No animal should be forced into this state for any reason, and especially not for ‘entertainment’ or ‘sport’. This practice does not align with the cattle industries own best practice recommendations and must be prohibited.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

The regulations must not allow the use of electric shock devices, snares and traps, or permitting painful procedures without pain relief. It must also mandate analgesics and pain relief for any invasive procedure and remove the idea that painful procedures can be performed without pain relief.

The Department of Agriculture – the department charged with promoting animal agriculture (and facilitating its profitability), is the same department responsible for ensuring the welfare of farmed animals.

This is a gross conflict of interest that ultimately sees industry interests put ahead of the wellbeing of animals – resulting in codes and regulations that permit cruel acts when they heighten the production of the industry.

The establishment of an Independent Victorian Animal Welfare Authority will remove this glaring conflict of interest and be solely responsible for animal care and protection issues, making decisions that are first and foremost in the interests of all animals.

Thank you for being a powerful voice for all animals.

Your submission will help give vital representation to all animals in Victoria.

Seeing this routine cruelty and destruction of sentient individuals must make you wonder why the animals who need it most, are the ones who are always exempt from animal cruelty laws. The reality is that without these exemptions, entire industries could be prosecuted for animal cruelty, and some may cease to exist.

In reality, it’s impossible to factory farm animals for food, use animals in ‘entertainment’ or for ‘sport’, or conduct tests on animals for scientific research without subjecting them to some level of suffering.

Laws can provide important, basic protections for animals. But it’s important to acknowledge that animal industries largely exist to serve human desires – be they for food, entertainment, products. So, the choices we make can profoundly shift the status quo.

 To explore more ways to be a force for kindness in this world order your free copy of our Compassionate Living Guide today. Inside you’ll find everything you need to keep creating positive and powerful change: for animals, for our planet and for a future that delivers kindness for all.