Animal welfare as a federal campaign issue 2013
Community expectations in relation to genuine animal welfare
has well surpassed the legislative protections and conduct that is currently
being used all over Australia.
Whether we approach this issue from the side of Live Trade,
kill rates in pounds and shelters, legislative policing or even simple open and
honest debate, we are as a nation falling behind community expectations, and in
fact world standards.
It is therefore important that we lead by example on the
world stage in relation to every aspect of animal welfare within our borders,
in a compassionate and honest manner.
Breed specific legislation being increased around the
country is typical if the knee jerk reactions to issues that could receive much
more educated and compassionate approaches.
The policing of Animal welfare legislation and the issue of
un-vetted seizure powers are left in the hands of a private charity, which has
now grown into a massive corporate entity with their own financial self
interest in control of legislative direction.
Council pounds that restrict life to 72 hours, and local
bi-laws that restrict the ability of non kill shelters to operate are
unacceptable, and none of the many issues we face will be addressed unless
serious changes are forth coming.
New Zealand stopped their live trade industry in 2003, and
their packaged meat trade continues to improve into Asia and the US in
particular, Australia’s obligations to its animal welfare should continue also
beyond our borders, the very fact live export has failed so many times to
adequately protect our livestock welfare, only goes to prove the trade in live
animals must be phased out.
Government support for companion animals starts and stops
with the RSPCA, in regards to policing animal welfare legislation and tax payer
funding, while many privately funded rescue groups, shelters and Sanctuaries
are not only ignored but forced to deal with increased costs and red tape to
even exist, with much of this inflicted by the RSPCA themselves.
Charity laws that attack Lamington drives and fundraising for smaller shelter and rescue groups are also overzealous
and wrongly directed.
The policing of animal welfare being hand balled to a single
charity organisation, that does not answer to any external scrutiny was always
going to be a dangerous move, but with the growth of that organisation into a
huge corporate entity with such huge self interest in the animal industry at
every level, has proven a complete disaster.
Any tax payer funded organisation that can brag multimillion
dollars surpluses, while they maintain such huge euthanasia rates as they like
to call them, is not the example that should be set for the rest of the
A quick glance over published success rates in companion
animal re-homing may look good on the surface, but should one study further we
find all sorts of dodgy facts and figures being used to cover up the truth.
RSPCA run pounds put down many healthy animals under the
heading of behaviour, the final transfer rate to the RSPCA itself then use’s
the figures of returned animals in its re-homing rates to appear to be a great
success, these methods also extend into other animal welfare groups.
This in turn takes the pressure of the real problems, which includes;
puppy farms, low de-sexing rates and irresponsible ownership, all of which
could be addressed through increased education and subsidised companion animal
Powers to seize and destroy animals, enter homes and
vehicles, re-homing and shelters regulations, rescues call outs and powers of
prosecution deserve adequate supervision and separation.
My investigations clearly show the RSPCA do not have the
ability to either police or prosecute in a professional or equitable manner, so
I will continue to call for a separation of these powers, and demand parliament
hand them back to local police services.
Native animal rescue and purpose built soft release funding
is non-existent in South Australia and funding beyond covering the costs of
animal welfare policing also attracts no government support what so ever.
The powers to prosecute as they stand are lack lustre and
misused by most of the current officers appointed under the Act, resulting in
the closure and or prosecution of genuine animal carers with total disrespect
for equity and justice.
A full parliamentary enquiry into animal welfare and the
policing of current legislation is essential to ensure community expectations
are met in a timely, open and transparent manner. I personally could forward on
hundreds of written complaints, reports and personal experiences I have received
in the past 6 months alone.
In short, I call for the abolition over 3 years of Australia’s
live export trade, equitable government assistance for all rescue groups,
shelters and native sanctuaries, the immediate removal of policing and
prosecution powers from the RSPCA, government
subsidised companion animal de-sexing services, strict licensing for companion
animal breeders and new education programs to assist all of the above.
Independent for Wakefield