Greens aim to refocus RSPCA debate on animal welfare concerns

The Government today bowed to the wishes of the shooters and fishers and the live export lobby to launch a committee inquiry into the operations of the RSPCA, said Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren.  

"I opposed the motion to establish the inquiry, as I believe the RSPCA has sufficient checks and balances through existing accountability mechanisms, and there is no evidence they do not meet or exceed community expectations outside the complaints of disgruntled former employees and board members who didn’t survive the organisation’s restructure,” Ms MacLaren said.

“By rejecting my motion to expand the terms of the inquiry to include the Government’s own operations in animal welfare in the Department of Agriculture and Food, the Government exposed that they have little interest in improving animal welfare in WA.

“This inquiry seeks only to intimidate the RSPCA, not improve enforcement and compliance of welfare.”

“As a registered association and charity, the RSPCA is beholden to a range of accountability measures including legislation. As the RSPCA receives $500,000 from the State Government, it is also subject to the terms and conditions of a Funding Grant, which is administered by DAFWA.

“The RSPCA not only reports directly to the Government, but also to its supporters and the general public through its annual reports.

“Successful prosecutions are a clear demonstration of whether the RSPCA is meeting their objectives to improve the welfare of animals in the state. Prosecutions are presided over by Magistrates. Anyone who is unhappy with a decision can appeal to a higher court.

"With the RSPCA’s 23 successful prosecutions measured against the State Government Animal Welfare Unit’s sole successful prosecution in 2014, I began to wonder whether the proposed inquiry, should only naturally be expanded to include the activities of DAFWA.

“There are many concerns about animal welfare in this state. Rather than trying to improve the state of animal welfare, the Shooters and Fishers party supported by the Government are making unfounded accusations in an attempt to curtail the advocacy of a well-regarded community organisation that is truly making a difference.”