What is animal cruelty?
Before we consider animal welfare, let’s define animal cruelty. In Victoria, animal cruelty is defined by law under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Broadly, there are two categories of animal cruelty our RSPCA Inspectors investigate.
Reporting animal cruelty or neglect
Deliberate cruelty includes beating, overworking, abusing, wounding or carrying out procedures such as ear cropping or tail docking.
Neglect includes not providing the basics such as clean water, food or shelter. It is also considered neglect if an owner fails to take their sick or injured animal to the vet.
What is good animal welfare?
The welfare of an animal includes both physical and mental states. Ensuring good animal welfare goes beyond preventing pain, suffering or distress. It is about ensuring animals can express their natural behaviour in an enriching environment while feeling safe. As such, providing good animal welfare means providing animals with all the necessary elements to ensure their physical and mental health, as well as a sense of positive individual wellbeing. Combined, these provide a good quality of life.
RSPCA Victoria recommends these five aspects of animal welfare are considered to ensure the health and wellbeing of every pet.
Animals need clean drinking water readily available and access to the proper amount of nutritious food to help them grow and stay strong and healthy.
Animals need places to shelter from the wind, rain and heat. The shelter should be clean and provide somewhere for the animal to rest. In addition, the shelter should be large enough that the animal can move around freely inside it.
Animals should visit a vet at least once a year for a check-up and to receive vaccinations against a range of infectious diseases. They should also visit a vet at other times if they show any signs of pain, injury or illness.
Animals should be able to exercise regularly and enjoy mental stimulation through toys and games.
We are currently in the process of translating this information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We will continue to add translations as we progress with this project.