Topics > Plants & animals > Animal welfare

Animal welfare legislation

Animals in South Australia must be treated in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act 1985 (the Act) and the Animal Welfare Regulations 2012.

The Act applies equally to all animals regardless of their value or status (ie threatened or pest species). Compliance with the requirements of the Act is mandatory.

Under Section 13 of the Act, anyone who ill-treats an animal is guilty of an offence. The Act lists the types of actions which constitute ill-treatment. This Act is enforced by the RSPCA, departmental wardens, livestock animal health officers, biosecurity officers and the police.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972
The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (the Act) and National Parks and Wildlife (Wildlife) Regulations 2019 provides the legislative framework for dealing with native fauna in South Australia. Native mammals, reptiles, most native birds and some frogs are protected in South Australia.

The Act provides for a permit system to keep and sell most native animals, including mammals, birds and reptiles in South Australia. The department administers this permit system.

Other South Australian legislation relating to the welfare and management of animals:

Federal legislation relating to the conservation of animals: