Performing Animals Protection Act Licensing

Amendment of the Performing Animals Protection Act (PAPA) (Act 24 of 1935, amended by Act 4 of 2016)

Animals have played a longstanding role in the social, cultural, and agricultural history of South Africa. They are an important part of our heritage; enriching our environment, our economy, and our lives. In addition to contributing to food security, animals often provide companionship, therapy, and entertainment to people.

With growing awareness of the sentience of animals, it is becoming globally accepted that animals should enjoy positive states of welfare. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) defines animal welfare as, “how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express natural behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress.” Championed by the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), animal welfare has gained visibility and political importance in the international community.

South Africa has progressive animal protection legislation that protects all animals against abuse. However, the legislation is criticized as being fragmented and outdated in that it emphasizes the prevention of cruelty rather than informing duties of animal care. It does, however, infer a responsibility to develop and implement animal welfare principles that keep abreast of growing international obligations and ensure humane treatment and care of all animals.

A major amendment of the Performing Animals Protection Act (Act 24 of 1935) was implemented with the enactment of Act 4 of 2016, published on 19 January 2017, and the associated Regulations, published on 3 August 2017, whereby licensing of performing animals became the responsibility of the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) instead of the Department of Justice. DAFF confirmed that the government is committed to the wellbeing of industries that make use of performing animals, as well as the animals that are used in these industries. A notice was published to inform all role-players of Governments’ intention to monitor the welfare of performing animals, making use of mechanisms that are already implemented by, within or for these industries. Animal welfare monitoring can, therefore, be included as part of PAPA licensing conditions. This responsibility was subsequently delegated to state veterinarians (SV) of the WCDOA, who now issue PAPA licenses at the provincial level.

veterinary procedural notice (VPN), which forms the basis for a license application inspection, was developed to assist the SV in this task. A self-evaluation checklist that can be used by the PAPA applicant was compiled from the VPN. Apart from animal health checks, many aspects covered in the VPN are required to be approved or endorsed by a facility veterinarian, such as a health and welfare plan for all the species/animals, the site where the animals are kept or work, indicating area(s) allocated to each species, including shelter, feed, and water points, examination area, storage and disposal of waste and mortalities, animal training (equipment and methods), as well as associated records and registers. Biannual (twice a year) veterinary visits, animal movement notification, and monitoring of animals used in the filming industry are also regulated to ensure the welfare of performing animals.

Considerable industry awareness efforts and workshops to ensure feasible implementation were undertaken in the province between Aug and Nov 2017, before all PAPA licenses issued in terms of the previous dispensation, expired in Dec 2017 and awareness initiative to secondary industry role-players continues.

A PAPA licence will be issued in the licensing area where the animals permanently abide or are deployed for a fixed-term posting/contract (primary facility). The WCP is  divided into 8 PAPA licensing areas. Should animals be deployed over various  licensing areas, separate PAPA applications/licences are required to cover the animals working in each of those areas. We require that businesses that use animals  over several licensing areas contract a local facility veterinarian to provide emergency services to the local animals, even if a distant “main” facility veterinarian is contracted to conduct the bi-annual site inspections at all the remote sites (long distance travelling for this purpose may be costly).

Many citizens who work with animals in the province applied for PAPA licenses, but reports of the unlicensed use of animals are, however, encountered. To ensure compliance and the effective implementation of this amended Act to the benefit and welfare of performing animals, an admission of guilt fine system, covering a range of offenses in terms of the PAPA, was magisterially approved across the entire provincially and is being instituted to support law enforcement. It is an offense in terms of the PAPA [Act 24/35, read with Amendment Act 4 of 2016, Sec 8 (a) and (f)] to use an animal without a PAPA license. It is, however, not only the person in who’s control (custody) the animal is working (this should be the PAPA license holder) but also any person who causes an animal to be used without a PAPA license, in other words, the person that enlisted the services of such an animal, that can be fined or charged in terms of PAPA, which can result in a criminal record.

The WCDOA remains committed to the people of this province and endeavors to support and enable its citizens to work and thrive within the legislative framework of our country. It remains the responsibility of the PAPA license holder to ensure that he/she submits the correct PAPA application form, correctly completed, with prescribed documents, at least 2 months before a valid PAPA license expires, to and Cc and

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