Image credit: World Animal Protection/Colin Seddon

The cruellest list: practices legalised by existing animal welfare codes


Cruel and outdated practices continue to legally inflict on Australian animals within our animal industries. This list includes the legalisation of cruel confinement systems, through to the routine removal of body parts without pain relief.

World Animal Protection is calling for the establishment of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare to review these practices and develop enforceable animal welfare standards, standards that meet international benchmarks, and drive forward progress for animals.

The practices outlined in the list below, are not only horrific for animals, but bad for business too. Australia’s reputation is being compromised by the legalisation of such cruelty.

Progress for animals at risk

While the United Kingdom and our neighbours in New Zealand are making progress towards better welfare, outlawing some of these practices such as the use of battery cages for layer hens, and putting in place good frameworks for animal welfare, Australia’s progress is at risk of stalling.

It’s time we put an end to such appalling and unnecessary suffering, and instead move to protect and drive progress for our animals. Join the campaign calling for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare. 

Some of the practices still legal in Australia

  1. Castration of juvenile cattle and sheep without pain relief
  2. Giving hens less than the equivalent of an A4 page of space, no perch, no nest
  3. Cutting the toes off emu chicks under 36 hours old (de-clawing) without pain relief
  4. Intensive puppy farms, where female dogs can be bred continuously without a break
  5. Cutting or grinding the teeth of piglets under 72 hours old without pain relief
  6. Hot iron branding of cattle without pain relief
  7. De-beaking of chickens under 72 hours old with a hot iron / wire without pain relief
  8. Allowing pregnant sows just a cement stall, so small they are unable to turn around in
  9. Live lamb cutting ('mulesing') - removal of skin from the breech and/or tail - with no pain relief
  10. Tail docking of adult lambs and piglets (under a week old) without pain relief

Help put animal protection back on the agenda

We hope that you will speak out to protect Australian animals. We're calling for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare to review and drive progress of national standards for animal welfare.

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