Animal Welfare Legislation
Historically, the protection of animals in South Africa has been regulated by two Acts – the Animals Protection Act, 1962 (Act 71 of 1962) and the Performing Animals Protection Act, 1935 (Act 24 of 1935).
At present, there are a number of welfare codes of conduct for specific sectors and activities but these are fragmented and currently applied on a voluntary basis. While the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) currently administers the legislation, enforcement is largely undertaken by non-governmental organizations such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), the Animal Anti-Cruelty League, other registered Animal Welfare Organisations, the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the public.
The existing legislation can be effective as far as specific cruelty to animals is concerned but any action is largely dependent on information supplied by members of the public – and subsequent reaction from animal welfare organizations.
Recently the Performing Animals Protection Act was amended to bring it in line with the Constitution. This has resulted in the State Veterinary Services being responsible for the issuing of Performing and Security Animals licences.
DAFF has noted in the amendment process of the Performing Animals Protection Act that the current legislation is fragmented but in the development of new animal welfare legislation would place the emphasis on care provision rather than cruelty prevention.