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 In Australian society there is the common understanding that cats and dogs are companion animals. However, it has recently been brought to our attention, by the Animal Justice Party, that in all states and territories, with the exception of South Australia, there is a legal loophole that allows cats and dogs to be slaughtered and consumed.

You may be wondering why this is the first time you are hearing about this shocking laws in Australia. The legal loophole derives from the fact that there is no legislation that expressly prohibits or makes it an offence to consume cats and dogs. Instead the law is silent to this fact, and only states that it is prohibited for the sale of cat and dog meat under the laws that govern the production of meat. The laws that govern the production of meat outline that where a person or business that processes meat intended for sale and human consumption must be registered or licensed under the relevant state and territory meat production legislation and that only animals that are defined as consumable or an abattoir animal can go through these businesses[1] Consumable and abattoir animals under Australian law does not include cats and dogs.

So while the sale of meat derived from a cat or dog is prohibited, technically, the home production and consumption of such meat is not. It is due to this loophole that there is a growing concern that underground cat and dog meat trades are occurring around Australia. It is for this reason that the public needs to be aware of such a trade and stand together with us at ‘Til The Cows Come Home and the Animal Justice Party to demand a legislative reform to expressly prohibit the killing of dogs and cats for consumption. 

By Luella Botteon

[1] RSPCA, “Is eating cats or dogs legal?”