Horse Background

The state and territory governments, are responsible for the regulation of animal welfare in Australia.

One of the key objectives of the ‘Australian Animal Welfare Strategy’ (AAWS) is to facilitate consistency of legislation across states and territories for improved and sustainable animal welfare outcomes.

A review of the Codes in 2005 recommended the Codes be converted into Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. The conversion process involved a wide range of stakeholders. Animal Health Australia was commissioned by the Department of Agriculture (formerly DAFF) to manage the conversion of the codes of practise into standards and guidelines.

The early stage draft Standards and Guidelines for Horses document was revised by DAFF and Animal Health Australia subsequently took over for the public consultation phase and finalisation in April 2009.  Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC) and RSPCA Australia have expressed an ongoing interest in the project, but no further work has taken place because of a lack of a full funding commitment from the horse industry members of Animal Health Australia.

The 2009 early stage draft Standards and Guidelines for Horses document currently has 21 chapters and covers all aspects of horse welfare including specific chapters on breeding, housing and facilities, dental and foot care, veterinary procedures, rugging, tethering, hobbling and identification.

Each chapter within the standards and guidelines for horses will contain:

  • Objectives – the intended overall outcome(s) for each section of the standards and guidelines
  • Standards – the requirements that must be met under animal welfare law
  • Guidelines – the recommended practices to achieve desirable animal welfare outcomes; they describe better animal welfare outcomes compared to the standards. Non-compliance with guidelines will not be an offence.

The Regulation Impact Analysis

A key aspect of creating new animal welfare standards is to identify the costs and benefits for a wide range of stakeholders. This is typically done by preparing a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS).

A RIS is a required document prepared by the department, agency, statutory authority or board responsible for a regulatory proposal. The RIS includes recommendations for the most effective and efficient option and formalises and documents how authorities have assessed the costs, benefits and the possible changes to an existing (or a new) regulation.

Authorities are required to conduct public consultation to seek feedback and determine the level of support for the RIS. When the RIS is assessed, it must include a consultation statement that shows how consultation was undertaken, who was consulted and a summary of their views, and those views that were considered.


Page Reviewed: 14 January 2015