Austria-Federal Act on the Protection of Animals

This is a short discussion on Austrian animal welfare law in general and this legislation in particular. I address certain parts of the legislation that is interesting to cat lovers and keepers and provide a link to the full text.

The full title is: Federal Act on the Protection of Animals (Animal Protection Act – TSchG) (Act). Note: I refer to a translation of the Act. It is probably a good one but I cannot vouch for it.

This Federal Act does not affect provisions of other federal acts of protection of animals, in particular:

1. the Animal Experiments Act, Federal Law Gazette No. 501/1989,
2. the Animal Transportation Act-Road, Federal Law Gazette No. 411/1994,
3. the Animal Transportation Act-Air, Federal Law Gazette No. 152/1996, 4. the Animal Transportation Act-Railway, Federal Law Gazette No. 43/1998, in their up-to date versions.

Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt, Austria – photo Philip Bouchard (Flickr)

First Aid
Keeping of Animals
Freedom of Movement

Prohibition of cruelty to animals

My immediate impression with this legislation is that it is specific and precise, a good quality. It also bans declawing, which pleases me immensely. It defines what animal cruelty is in section 5.

This section/paragraph starts with:

5. (1) It is prohibited to inflict unjustified pain, suffering or injury on an animal or expose it to heavy fear. (2) Para 1 is violated in particular if a person…..then a long list of violations follow, which are:

1. breeds animals which either directly themselves or their descendants will suffer from heavy pain, suffering, injury or heavy fear (inhumane breeding practices); or imports, purchases or passes on such animals with features resulting from inhumane breeding practices;

2. increases aggressiveness and fighting readiness of animals by one-sided breeding selection or other methods;

3. a) uses spike collars, coral type pronged collar, or animal training devices using electricity or chemical substances, or b) uses technical equipment, devices or auxiliary means aiming at influencing animal behaviour by severe approach or punishment incentives;

4. sets animals on other animals or trains them to be aggressive towards another animal;

5. organizes or performs animal fights;

6. organizes dog races on asphalt or other hard-covered terrain;

7. administers stimulants or doping substances to an animal in order to increase its performance, in particular during sports competitions or similar events;

8. uses an animal for film shots, advertising, exhibition or similar purposes or events if this is involved with pain, suffering, injury or heavy fear for the animal;

9. demands from an animal any performance obviously involved with pain, suffering, injury or heavy fear for the animal;

10. exposes an animal to temperatures, weather conditions, lack of oxygen or restriction of free movement inflicting pain, suffering, injury or heavy fear on the animal;

11. offers an animal food or substances the ingestion of which is obvious to involve pain, suffering, injury or heavy fear for the animal;

12. forces the animal to ingest food or substances, as long as this is not necessary for reasons of veterinary medicine;

13. is negligent with regard to accommodation, feeding and care of an animal he keeps, in a way to involve pain, suffering or injury for the animal or to put it in a state of heavy fear;

14. abandons or leaves a domestic or pet animal or a not indigenous Wild animal kept by him, in order to get rid of it;

15. severs limbs from live animals;

16. uses catching devices in a way not catching unharmed or not killing immediately. (3) Not considered to be infractions of para 1 are 1. measures necessary on grounds of veterinary medicine or otherwise taken for the well-being of the animal, 2. measures taken in compliance with regulations of veterinary medicine, 3. measures indispensable for professional pest control or for control of epidemics, 4. training measures for police and military forces dogs for which coral type pronged collars are used by specially trained persons, maintaining the principle of adequacy. A coral collar is understood to be a collar consisting of metal links with laryngeal protection, equipped with rounded metal pins protruding at an angle and of at least 3,5 mm diameter.

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