The NSW Nationals in the state government will soon enshrine the country’s toughest suite of animal cruelty penalties into law, after the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act Amendment Bill 2021 passed through the Legislative Council.
NSW Nationals Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the Bill would modernise legislation by dramatically increasing both financial penalties and gaol time.
“The NSW Nationals in the state government sent a clear message; we and the people of NSW do not tolerate animal cruelty,” Mr Marshall said.
“These changes will see an up-to eight-fold increase in financial penalties and gaol time for grubs who would hurt or fail to adequately care for animals.
“The new penalties modernise our legislation and brings it into line with community expectations.”
Key changes to animal cruelty penalties include:
- Cruelty – increased from $5500 fine (current) to $44,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment for individuals and $220,000 for corporations for each individual act of cruelty;
- Aggravated Cruelty – increased from $22,000 fine (current) to $110,000 and/or 2 years’ imprisonment for individuals and $550,000 for corporations for each individual act; and,
- Fail to Provide Food & Shelter – Increased from $5500 fine (current) to $16,500 and/or six months’ imprisonment for individuals and $82,500 for corporations for each individual act.
While the Bill increases penalties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, it does not create new offences, target any one industry, or change current defences.
“Let me be clear, we are not targeting any specific industry or sector – not farmers or pet owners, nor are we changing current defences,” Mr Marshall said.
“The Bill simply underscores that animal cruelty is already unacceptable in NSW, and brings down a harsh suite of penalties on those who fall foul of our robust laws.”