Animal welfare advocates are demanding a comprehensive reform of Australia’s animal sex abuse laws, including the establishment of an offender registry, in the wake of the disturbing case of Adam Britton, a well-known zoologist. Britton, who had appeared on an ABC program, was found guilty earlier this year of 56 counts of animal abuse, including the horrific sexual assault and murder of over 42 dogs at his residence in Darwin.
Britton, who acquired the dogs through Gumtree, recorded the gruesome acts and distributed the videos on forums for sexual animal abusers, known as “zoos.” Emma Hurst, a Member of the Legislative Council for the Animal Party of Australia in New South Wales, is leading the call for stricter measures against bestiality offenders nationwide.
Hurst has approached the Northern Territory government, advocating for an urgent conversation at the national level about the sexual abuse of animals. Despite modifications to relevant laws in the Northern Territory, Hurst noted that her communication with the Minister for Agribusiness and the Attorney-General has been unanswered.
A motion is set to be presented in the NSW parliament, pushing for an overhaul of laws across Australia, including the establishment of a registry for bestiality offenders. This registry would be integrated into a proposed pet registry, allowing immediate tracking and prevention of animal adoptions by convicted offenders.
In NSW, where some of the strictest laws already exist, amendments to the Crimes Act by the Animal Justice Party enforce a lifetime animal ownership ban for those convicted of bestiality. However, Hurst believes more actions are necessary to empower police in tackling animal sex abuse.
She highlighted the need for increased police funding and legislative action against puppy farms and private breeders. Despite the NSW government’s election promises to address these issues, Hurst expressed disappointment over the lack of progress.
The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research records approximately seven cases of animal abuse annually in NSW, but Hurst fears many more go unreported. The call for national dialogue and reform aims to address these hidden crimes and ensure better protection for animals across Australia.