Guide to the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 allow better enforcement of low to medium animal welfare offending. Check the regulations and MPI guidance to make sure you're complying with these laws.

About the regulations

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 allow better enforcement of low to medium animal welfare offending. Severe animal cruelty is covered under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. 

When the regulations apply

Most of the regulations come into force on 1 October 2018. Regulations around disbudding and dehorning cattle are delayed until 1 October 2019 to give animal owners and practitioners (veterinarians and contractors) time to prepare.

To make sure codes of welfare are consistent with the regulations, the regulations make changes to some minimum standards. These changes take effect in October 2018. The codes will be updated and reissued then.

What you need to do

Most of the regulations are based on existing minimum standards in the codes of welfare. But for some, you may need to:

  • change farm policies
  • provide additional staff training
  • make other changes to the way you care for your animals.

Check the regulations by animal type or activity

To make it easier to find what you need to do, we've grouped the regulations on this web page by animal type or activity with a brief explanation below it, where needed. We'll add more guidance on the regulations before they come into force. Note, there are no regulations relating solely to deer – check the regulations under 'Stock transport' and 'Regulations for all animals'.

Information on this page is only a summary. Make sure you check the full details in the regulations. We've numbered them here to help you find the right part.

Regulations for all animals

47. Collars and tethers

  • Collars and tethers, on any part of an animal, must not cause swellings, cuts or skin abrasions that bleed or discharge, or prevent the animal from breathing normally, panting or drinking.

  • 'Tether' means any form of restraint that secures any part of the animal to an object or the ground. 

48. Use of electric prodders

  • You are prohibited from using electric prodders with some exceptions for cattle, pigs, and deer based on their weight and situation.

49. Prodding animals in sensitive areas

  • You must not strike or prod an animal in the udder, anus, genitals, or eyes using a goad.
  • A 'goad' is an object used to make an animal move.

Regulations by animal type or activity

Regulation penalties

Each regulation has an associated penalty. The penalty level is determined by whether the offence is:

  • an infringement – resulting in a fine but no criminal conviction
  • a prosecution under regulations – more serious than an infringement offence and may result in a criminal conviction. The court can impose a fine up to the maximum in the Regulations. There is no imprisonment for regulation offences.

View a list of offences and related penalties  [PDF, 584 KB]

If you get an infringement notice

If you are issued an infringement notice you should read the 'Notes' on the back.
You can:

  • pay the infringement fine in full
  • request a waiver of the infringement if you think there are circumstances that are grounds for a waiver
  • request a defended or non-defended court hearing.

Find out more about:

If you have been charged with a prosecutable offence

If you are charged with a prosecutable offence under the Regulations or the Act, you or your legal representative will have to appear before the District Court under normal criminal court processes.

Who to contact

If you have questions about animal welfare, email

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