Activities prohibited under the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979
Animal Research Review Panel Policy 3
Revised: December 2017
The objectives of the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (POCTA) are to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote the welfare of animals. POCTA includes offences for cruelty to animals and carrying out prohibited activities.
A defence against prosecution under POCTA is that an activity was carried out for the purpose of animal research and in compliance with the Animal Research Act 1985 (POCTA Section 24(1)(e)).
Therefore Animal Ethics Committees are able to approve activities that would be prohibited under POCTA. Factors that Animal Ethics Committees should take into account in approving such activities include:
- There would need to be strong justification for the need to carry out such activities.
- The activities would have to be an integral part of an animal research project.
- All aspects of the project, including its approval and conduct, would have to be fully compliant with the Animal Research Act 1985.
- The activities could not be approved if they were not part of a research project – for example for animal management only.
Animal researchers who carry out activities prohibited under POCTA, otherwise than in compliance with the Animal Research Act 1985, may be liable to prosecution under both the Animal Research Act 1985 and POCTA.