NSW has become the first state in Australia to automatically ban anyone convicted of serious animal abuse from ever owning or working with animals again.
A government bill introducing tougher penalties for animal cruelty and bestiality passed the state parliament on Thursday night, after two years of advocacy by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst.
A psychologist and survivor of domestic violence, Ms Hurst says human and animal abuse often go hand in hand.
The new penalties are a significant step towards addressing both crimes, she said in a statement.
"We have witnessed some chilling cases over the past two years where animal abusers have been allowed to continue to breed animals, work alongside animals and even buy animals after their convictions."
She cites one case where a Sydney man was jailed for serious animal cruelty after he stabbed a dog with a pitchfork six times, then hung the dog to a tree and left it to die over many hours.
A petting zoo operator, that man was not banned from working with animals again, she says.
"There have been far too many cases where the punishments simply do not match the crimes," Ms Hurst.
The new NSW legislation is unique in that the ban is for a lifetime and is automatically imposed upon conviction.
Ms Hurst is now urging other states to follow suit.
"We are a nation of animal lovers."
"Animal cruelty is hard to think and talk about- but it is happening."
Australian Associated Press