Cases

Case name Citationsort descending Summary
Joyce v Visser [2001] TASSC 116

The appellant was convicted of failing to provide food and water to dogs who were chained to a spot. Citing the extreme nature of the neglect and the need for general deterrence, the trial judge sentenced the appellant to three months' imprisonment. On appeal, the appellate judge found the sentence to be manifestly excessive and reduced the sentence.

Pearson v Janlin Circuses Pty Ltd [2002] NSWSC 1118

The defendant deprived an elephant in a circus of contact with other elephants for years. On a particular day, the defendant authorised three other elephants to be kept in the proximity of the elephant for a number of hours. It was claimed that this act constituted an act of cruelty as it caused distress to the elephant. On appeal, it was determined that mens rea was not an element of a cruelty offence under the statute.

Animal Liberation Ltd v National Parks & Wildlife Service [2003] NSWSC 457

The applicants sought an interlocutory injunction to restrain the respondent from conducting an aerial shooting of goats as part of a 'cull'. The applicants claimed that the aerial shooting constituted cruelty as the goats, once wounded, would die a slow death. An injunction was granted to the applicants pending final hearing of the substantive action against the aerial shooting.

Re Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc. and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts [2004] AATA 1383

The Minister for the Environment approved plans for the 'harvesting' of Kangaroos in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. The Tribunal found that the killing of joeys, where the mother was also killed, was sanctioned by the Model Code relating to kangaroos and that any licences issued under the plans authorised those killings. The Tribunal found that the likelihood of compliance with the code, which stipulated the manner of killing of kangaroos, would be in the range of 95-99%. The Tribunal approved each of the plans but made a recommendation that future plans should involve a greater element of public consultation.

Beaumont v Cahir [2004] ACTSC 97

The appellant landed a hot air balloon in a paddock occupied by a dressage horse belonging to the respondent. The horse was spooked and impaled itself on fencing. The appellant was liable for the cost of reinstating the horse to health and was not permitted to euthanise the horse and find a replacement.

Mansbridge v Nichols [2004] VSC 530

The appellant was convicted of seven offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (Vic) related to the appellant's treatment of merino sheep in her care. The appellant was successful in overturning three of the charges on the basis that they were latently duplicitous or ambiguous. The appellant was unsuccessful in arguing that the trial judge failed to give adequate reasons.

Anderson v Ah Kit [2004] WASC 194

In proceedings for defamation, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant published information giving rise to the imputations that the plaintiff left animals to starve and that the Northern Territory government had to intervene to feed those animals. The defendant pleaded, inter alia, the defences of Polly Peck and fair comment. The Court ruled that the Polly Peck defense was sufficiently justified to survive the plaintiff's strike out application. It was held, however, that although animal welfare generally was a matter of public interest, the welfare of some animals held on private property was not, and could not be made by extensive media coverage, a matter of public interest.

Australian Wool Innovation Ltd v Newkirk (No 2) [2005] FCA 1307

The respondents, including PETA, engaged in a campaign to boycott the Australian wool industry on the bases of the cruelty incurred by the practice of mulesing and because of its link to the live export industry. The applicants, including Australian Wool Innovation who represented the Australian wool industry, sought to bring an action against the respondents for hindering trade under the Trade Practices Act (Cth) s 45DB and conspiring to injure the applicants by unlawful means. The respondents were successful in having these claims struck out.

Turner v Cole [2005] TASSC 72

RSPCA officers found a horse belonging to the applicant on the applicant's property and, after preparing the horse for transport, had to euthanise the animal when it collapsed. The applicant was convicted of failing to feed a horse which led to its serious disablement and eventual euthanisation. The applicant was unsuccessful on all issues on appeal and was liable for a fine of $4000 and prevention from owning 20 or more horses for five years.

Wildlife Protection Association of Australia Inc and Minister for Environment and Heritage and Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc and Animals Australia and Flinders Council [2006] AATA 953

The respondent Minister made declarations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) that particular plans relating to Bennett's wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons were approved wildlife trade management plans. The applicant questioned whether the plans permitted the inhumane hunting of wallabies and treatment of joeys as well as the basis upon which the quotas were derived. The tribunal found both matters satisfactorily addressed though further monitoring measures were deemed to be prudent.

Crump v Equine Nutrition Systems Pty Ltd t/as Horsepower [2006] NSWSC 512

The plaintiffs claimed that they purchased horse feed from the first respondent and that the feed was contaminated with monensin. The second respondent manufactured the feed. They claimed that as a result, one of their horses died and five others were permanently injured so that they could not be used for the desired purpose. After addressing several factual issues, the trial judge found for the plaintiffs in regards to the issue of negligence by the second respondent and proceeded to assess damages with regard to the economic value of the horses to the plaintiffs, the cost of replacement, loss of profits and maintenance.

Adams v Reahy [2007] NSWSC 1276

The first respondent claimed that despite their best efforts their dog was unable to gain weight and appeared emaciated. When proceedings were instituted, the first respondent was successful in being granted a permanent stay as the appellant, the RSPCA, failed to grant the first respondent access to the dog to determine its current state of health. On appeal, it was determined that a permanent stay was an inappropriate remedy and that the first respondent should be granted a temporary stay only until the dog could be examined.

Animal Liberation Ltd v Department of Environment & Conservation [2007] NSWSC 221

The applicants sought to restrain a proposed aerial shooting of pigs and goats on interlocutory basis pending the outcome of a suit claiming the aerial shooting would constitute cruelty. It was found that the applicants did not have a 'special interest' and as such did not have standing to bring the injunction. The application was dismissed.

Towers-Hammon v Burnett [2007] QDC 282

The respondent pleaded guilty to bashing several cats with an iron bar causing four deaths. The dead cats, along with one severely beaten but still alive kitten, were placed in a bag and disposed of in a charity clothing bin. On appeal, it was held that the trial judge failed to have sufficient regard to the callous nature of the respondent's actions and the respondent was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

RSPCA v O'Loughlan [2007] SASC 113

The appellant, the RSPCA, relied on the fact that a horse, once in RSPCA care, had a significantly improved condition in comparison to that described as 'emaciated' while in the respondent's care. The respondent claimed that the horse's condition fluctuated depending on the presence of mares in heat during summer and that she had tried several changes to the feed to counter a loss in weight. On appeal, the appellate judge did not disturb the trial judge's finding and confirmed that the respondent's conduct was reasonable in the circumstances.

R (on the application of Countryside Alliance and others) v Attorney General and another [2007] UKHL 52 An appeal was brought against a decision that the Hunting Act 2004 was not inconsistent with the EC Treaty, or incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. In particular, the appellants argued that the Act was incompatible with the right to a private and family life; and the right of freedom of assembly and association (Articles 8 and 11 of the Human Rights Act); along with Articles 1 and 14 of the Act (the right to peaceful enjoyment of property rights, and prohibition on discrimination). The appeal was rejected by the House of Lords. Findings included that Articles 8 and 11 were not engaged, and that even if they were, the hunting ban was proportionate to the end it sought to achieve and necessary in a democratic society.
Anderson v Moore [2007] WASC 135

The appellant ignored advice to make available reasonable amounts of food to feed sheep. The appellant claimed to be acting under veterinary advice and further that the trial judge erred in taking into account the subjectivity of the appellant's actions. All claims were dismissed.

Secretary of State for The Home Office v. BUAV and the Information Commissioner [2008] EWHC 892 (QB Appeal concerning the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and experiments involving animals. The BUAV had made an information request in respect of five research project licenses issued under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Home Office released limited summary information, relying on exemptions under FOIA to reason this; namely under section 24(1) which would prohibit information from being disclosed that had been given “in confidence.” The Court of Appeal upheld the decision that the Home Office was entitled to refuse BUAV’s information request.
Larobina v R [2009] NSWDC 79

The appellant appeal against a conviction for animal cruelty sustained in a lower court. After an examination of the elements of the statutory offense, it was found that the charge upon which the conviction was sustained was unknown to law.

City of Armidale v Kiraly [2009] WASC 199

The respondent, an owner of a brindle boxer dog, was charged with the dog attacking a person and for having the dog in a public place without a leash. The dog had escaped from the respondent's house and allegedly ran to and lunged at a lady delivering pamphlets. On appeal, the question of whether the dog's behaviour constituted an 'attack' for the purposes of the Dog Act 1976 (WA) s 33D(1) was a question of fact to be determined by the trial judge and, accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

Ward v RSPCA [2010] EWHC 347 (Admin) RSPCA inspectors attended Mr Ward’s smallholding to find two horses in a severely distressed condition, with a worm infestation. Veterinarian advice had not been sought following failed attempts to home treat. The farmer was convicted of unnecessary suffering pursuant to section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and disqualified from owning, keeping, participating in the keeping of, or controlling or influencing the way horses or cattle are kept for a three year period, pursuant to section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The defendant brought an appeal to the Crown Court and the High Court in respect of the disqualification. The High Court dismissed the appeal and held that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 was intended to promote the welfare of animals and part of the mechanism of protection is the order of disqualification following convictions for offences under the Act.
Windridge Farm Pty Ltd v Grassi [2010] NSWSC 335

The defendants entered the plaintiff's land, containing a piggery, with the intention of taking photographs and film footage to establish that the plaintiff failed to meet certain standards. The defendants' argument that the plaintiff was not entitled to injunctive relief because of 'unclean hands' was dismissed by the court. The court also found that the defensive argument based on 'implied freedom of political communication' did not have application in the circumstances.

Robertson v Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries [2010] QCA 147

An Inspector of the RSPCA entered premises occupied by the respondent and seized 104 dogs under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 which were then forfeited to the state. These actions were confirmed when the respondent sought an administrative review of the decisions and leave to appeal was refused. The respondent sought to raise numerous grounds of appeal against the prior refusal of leave to appeal, however, the appeal was struck out.

Dart v Singer [2010] QCA 75

The applicants pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 (Qld) following the seizure of 113 live dogs, one cat, 488 rats, 73 mice, 12 guinea pigs and 11 birds from their premises due to unsanitary and inappropriate living conditions. The applicants claimed that RSPCA officers were acting ultra vires and that a stay preventing the RSCPA from parting with the animals should be effected. The applicants' argument failed.

Gray v. RSPCA [2013] EWHC 500 (Admin) Mr Gray appealed against the police seizure of 115 horses from his horse trading premises, pursuant to section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Gray had been convicted of numerous counts of cruelty, specifically under sections 4 and 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Mr Gray argued that an offence under sections 4 and 9 required either actual knowledge or a form of constructive knowledge that the animal was showing signs of unnecessary suffering, and that negligence was not sufficient. It was held that the plain effect of section 4(1) of the Act is to impose criminal liability for unnecessary suffering caused to an animal either by an act or omission which the person responsible knew would, or was likely to, cause unnecessary suffering, or by a negligent act or omission. Further, it was held that section 9(1) of the Act sets a purely objective standard of care which a person responsible for an animal is required to provide.
RSPCA v. McCormick [2016] EWHC 928 (Admin) It was held that for an animal fight to have taken place, contrary to Section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act, the following must have occurred: a "protected animal" must have been placed with another animal in an environment where the ability of both to escape is restricted and controlled by some person or persons connected with that activity or by some artificial restraint. ‘Placed with’ is to be construed as a ‘matter of normal language.’
R v. Woodward [2017] EWHC 1008 (Admin) A group of abattoir slaughter-men were charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a number of sheep under Section 4(1) the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The abattoir owners were charged with failing to prevent the acts by their employees which caused the animals to suffer contrary to Section 4(2) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The charges followed undercover footage obtained by Animal Aid, which was then passed onto the Food Standards Agency, and the Crown Prosecution Service. In this case, the Crown brought an appeal against the district judge’s decision to dismiss the prosecution on the grounds that the sixth-month time limit under the 2006 Act had expired. The appeal was allowed.
Webb v. Avon [2017] EWHC 3311 This case addressed the power of the court to make a contingent destruction order under Section 4B of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended). These orders allow dangerous dogs to be released and kept under strict conditions. The court held that the 19991 Act is not clear as to the breadth of who these conditions apply to, but considered that dangerous dogs may only be released to their owners or other persons properly identified as being in charge. The case was remitted to the Crown Court for further determination. The court also addressed other aspects of the 1991 Act along with the Dangerous Dogs Exemption Schemes (England and Wales) Order 2015.
Redcliffe, St Mary the Virgin (Petition) [2020] ECC Bri 1 Finding that a 'non-lethal' electric shock pest control system set up to deter pigeons in a church may cause suffering, but the suffering is not unnecessary suffering under s4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. It was held that the conduct could not be reasonably avoided in the particular circumstances of the case, including damage caused to a grade I listed church, the chance of distress caused by the fouling of the birds, and that other pest control methods had failed. "Any suffering caused would be for a legitimate purpose ... that is the protection of property. ...the suffering is proportionate to preserve the building and to avoid distress to staff, visitors to the church and members of the congregation."

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