A review of Australian animal welfare legislation, regulation, codes of practice, and policy, and their influence on stakeholders caring for wildlife and the animals for whom they care
Englefield, B and Blackman, SA and Starling, M and McGreevy, PD, A review of Australian animal welfare legislation, regulation, codes of practice, and policy, and their influence on stakeholders caring for wildlife and the animals for whom they care, Animals, 9, (6) pp. 335. ISSN 2076-2615 (2019) [Refereed Article]
The Australian constitution makes no mention of native animals. Responsibility for animal welfare is largely retained by the states and territories via a fragmented, complex, contradictory, inconsistent system of regulatory management. Given that most jurisdictions have expressly made the possession of wildlife unlawful, the action of taking and possessing an animal, to rehabilitate it, defies the regulatory process. In most jurisdictions, it is illegal to microchip, band, or mark an animal, meaning that no reliable method is available to monitor an animal. Each year, a minimum of 50,000 rehabilitated native animals are released back to the wild, with little post-release monitoring. Where required, the assessments of behavioural and health requirements to confirm suitability for release may be undertaken by people with either negligible or questionable qualifications. Whilst it can be appropriate to rehabilitate and release injured native animals back to the wild, there may be moral, ethical, and practical reasons for not releasing hand-reared orphan native animals. This article examines the evolution, and explains the consequences, of decentralised regulation on wildlife carers and rehabilitating animals. It recommends that the practice of placing hand-reared native animals into the wild, and the regulatory framework that provides for it, should be reviewed.
wildlife, native animals, wildlife care, legislation, mental well-being, physical well-being