Animal Welfare

parliament house

Establish an Office for Animal Welfare

An independent Office of Animal Welfare Statutory Authority with responsibility for advising upon strong standards for animal welfare and protection issues as well as reviewing and monitoring compliance with, and enforcement of, relevant legislation. The Office would report directly to the Parliament and not be subsumed by Departments with conflicting interest or priorities. 


Ensure Our Dolphin Sanctuary Can Actually Keep Dolphins Safe

The Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary should be a safe haven for our much loved Port River Dolphins, but over many years this has not been the case. We have seen reports of dolphins becoming entangled in fishing equipment, fatally injured by boat propellers, and since June this year we have seen potentially five dolphins suffer from a mysterious illness.

Having a dolphin population that lives so close to an urban and industrial area will always pose unique challenges to the dolphin population, but Governments haven’t been doing enough to mitigate these risks and protect these dolphins. 

The Greens will: 

Ban heavy fishing lines, live bait and gang hooks in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary
Ban trawling in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary (including the Angas and Barker inlets, Port River, and inner Port)
Ensure that racing events do not take place in areas that would put dolphins in danger
Reduce the current red tape so that the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation can perform rescue operations in a more timely manner 

​​​​​The Greens will bring forward a piece of legislation to effect these changes but refer that Bill to an inquiry to ensure all stakeholders are heard and we can work collaboratively to ensure the Sanctuary keeps dolphins safe. 


Ban Duck Shooting

South Australia and Victoria are the only states that still allow duck hunting. This is a barbaric activity that is a relic of the past. Let’s call it what it is: not a “sport”, but recreational cruelty. 

Each year over several months the ducks many of us are raised to adore are traumatised, maimed, and killed. It beggars belief that our Government is choosing to perpetuate another so-called sport based on the suffering of animals. Some ducks are killed outright, but many are only wounded. Those ducks often die a slow, painful death. Recreational duck shooting is not about pest control, and is not just another way to get meant. If half the animals in a slaughterhouse escaped wounded and suffering, as is the case with ducks when faced with recreational shooters, then that slaughterhouse would be shut immediately. 

The Greens will ban duck hunting in South Australia.

greyhounds racing

End Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing has no place in our state. Greyhound racing is responsible for the needless killing of thousands of healthy dogs every year - all for the sake of a bet. Despite being banned around most of the world, greyhound racing persists in South Australia.  

The Greens will:

End greyhound racing in South Australia
Create a welfare plan for the future of greyhounds currently housed in the industry
Implement a just plan for trainers and other workers to transition to other employment 

close up of horses racing on grass

Ban jumps racing

Jumps racing has long been banned in most of Australia, but inexplicably it is still allowed in South Australia and Victoria - despite the continuing death toll. We know that most South Australians are against this cruel and dangerous sport, and it’s time that our laws caught up with community sentiment. Even the industry itself is no longer committed to the sport, with Racing SA deciding not to schedule any jumps racing events in 2022 due to declining participation levels and horse numbers that were making the industry unsustainable. 

This so-called sport has well and truly had its day, and there’s no reason to allow it to continue. The Greens will ban jumps racing in South Australia once and for all. 

chicken in a cage

End intensive animal farming

Animals in factory farms are unable to express their natural behaviours, are subjected to cruel and painful procedures like debeaking (hens) and tail docking (piglets). We’ve actively campaigned to ban the battery cage, sow stalls, debeaking and other cruel practices, and want to enact legislation that will put an end to these practices - some of which even industry is trying to phase out.

The Greens will:

Ban sow stalls
Ban debeaking
Work with industry to phase out battery cages
Legislate to ensure proper standards for free-range hens 


Animal Welfare Law Reform

South Australia has the weakest animal welfare laws in the country, and those responsible for enforcing and prosecuting these laws have over many years expressed their frustration at their inability to effectively police and address animal cruelty in this state.  

The Animal Welfare Act 1985 is a reflection of 20th century values not 21st century ones and demands of comprehensive review and reforms. 

The Greens would require shelters to not only become licensed under a uniform scheme, but also to publish their kill statistics. Currently, most South Australian rescue and shelter organisations don’t provide any data or reporting on the number of animals they euthanise. This lack of transparency and accountability is not only disappointing, but counterproductive. Without this information there is no way to tell if an organisation is doing a good job or not – though of course the raw statistics are never the whole story. There are often many reasons why animals have to be put down – incurable medical conditions where the animal is suffering unendurably are of course one, unresolvable behavioural issues like aggression or biting are another, but we should do everything we can to keep the number of euthanised animals to a minimum. Shelters shouldn’t be killing healthy animals because the holding period is over, or because the shelter is “full”. Instead, the Greens would ensure that shelters must take all reasonable steps to rehouse the animal in question – and that can include offering it to other rescue services. 

The Greens would also establish strict conditions around how and why an animal can be euthanised, to ensure that animals are not needlessly suffering or cruelly killed. To that end as well we would create a Code of Practice for shelter and rescue organisations. 

The Animal Welfare Act is currently silent or at least not explicit on the issue of Inspectors’ powers to enter and search property or premises to seize evidence. This has been a source of frustration for Inspectors who are empowered by the legislation to enforce the requirements of the Act.

The Greens will provide Inspectors with general powers to explicitly ensure that they have access to premises or a vehicle in which they reasonably suspect there may be records relating to a business or organised event or activity or animals, and where they reasonably suspect there may be an animal or other thing that has been used in or may constitute evidence of a contravention of the Act.  The Greens would enable Inspectors to take action to prevent animal cruelty, which they have previously not really been able to do under the Act, inserting into the section on “Special powers relating to animals” provisions to cover animals at risk of suffering unnecessary harm. We would further allow for animal cruelty intervention orders to prevent cruelty to animals, particularly while legal proceedings are ongoing.  

Currently, South Australia’s animal welfare laws do not apply to fish and cephalopods, meaning that at present nothing can be done to protect them from cruelty. In all jurisdictions, Animal Welfare or Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Acts cover vertebrate animals, but only some include fish, despite all fish being vertebrates. Fish are included as vertebrate species in the ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria. In the NT fish are only covered when ‘in captivity or dependent on a person for food’. But in South Australia (and WA) fish are specifically excluded from state animal welfare legislation and so protection. Yet there is clear evidence that fish are sentient animals capable of experiencing pain and suffering. The Greens want to change this. We would change our animal welfare laws to ensure that they protect fish as well.

The Greens will:

Reduce the number of dogs and cats needlessly euthanised
Ensure rescue organisations are properly licensed and accountable
Create a code of practice for rescue organisations
Enable proactive action to prevent animal cruelty
Include fish and cephalopods in the Animal Welfare Act