Rethinking the legal needs of wild animal welfare in Australia

  • Misty Tenille Fish

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    This thesis examines the state of legislative and regulatory wild animal protection in Australia. It contends that the legislative and regulatory welfare protections are inadequate, as evidenced through the lack of enforcement of animal cruelty offences and offences against the environment that indirectly cause harm to wild animals.

    The thesis’ central argument is that welfare protections for wild animals could be strengthened by including animal welfare considerations in legislation aimed at protecting the environment. The thesis reviews human population impacts on change in biological diversity which is subsequently impacting on wild animals. It explores the impact of human-induced activities on changes to the environment and how this can influence rethinking protections for wild animals.

    The philosophical underpinnings of the current Australian legislative and regulatory frameworks applicable to animal law are also explored.

    As the central argument incorporates wild animal welfare protections in environmental law, the thesis also explores the international legal and regulatory frameworks applicable to animal law and examines the incorporation of international conventions and agreements in Australia. It also includes an examination of relevant case law. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) is specifically explored to understand whether changes to the Act to include protections for wild animal welfare might be a feasible strategy.

    The thesis critically examines selected animal and environmental laws to assess whether those laws are working protectively for wild animal welfare, namely, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW), the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), in order to specifically identify gaps which prevents them working protectively for wild animal welfare.

    In conclusion, the thesis proposes that stronger protections are possible through enhanced enforcement of the current law and by clearer identification of wild animals in anti-cruelty laws. By rethinking the legal needs of wild animal welfare, changes can be made that would result in stronger legal protections for wild animals.
    Date of AwardFeb 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Price (Supervisor)

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