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RSPCA Tasmania News

Published: 14 September 2016

Publication of the Tasmanian Parliamentary Greyhound Report

RSPCA Tasmania welcomes the publication of the Parliamentary Committee’s report into the greyhound industry but says the Inquiry has not let the greyhound industry off the leash.

RSPCA CEO Peter West says the industry is now on notice that it needs to do better.

The opportunity was there for a once-in-a-generation response that would finally bring about better welfare outcomes for greyhounds and other animals such as those involved in the live baiting scandal.

It seems the Committee has decided to not make a stand for greyhounds and chosen instead to take the easy way out.

The focus now shifts to the state Government to see what it will do to ensure greyhounds get a better deal,” Mr West said.

Judging by recent media releases and what has been said in parliament over the last few weeks, it is clear that the Government, with Labor support, will put jobs and income from gambling revenue ahead of the welfare of animals, especially greyhounds.

Statistics show that on average, two greyhounds will be injured every time there is a greyhound race meeting in this state, and there is a reasonable chance that at least one greyhound will be euthanased - just so we can gamble and be entertained.

Mr West says TasRacing is at the forefront of reforming industry practices, and other states are considering similar practices to Tasmania’s.

However there are still so many questions around injury and deaths at race meetings, massive shortfalls in rehoming options and the need for constant policing of owners and trainers by the Office of Racing Integrity – these indicate that greyhound racing can never be a completely humane form of entertainment or sport.

Mr West says at the end of the day, it is perfectly clear there will be a vast number of greyhounds that will need re-homing, that are currently not being re-homed.

TasRacing says 100% of greyhounds will be re-homed by 2019, but we ask - why can’t that be from today, or next week, or even next year?

It seems that those of us that advocate significant change will need to accept the cards we’ve been dealt, take a pragmatic approach and be prepared to work with government and the racing industry to achieve better animal welfare outcomes.”

The full report can be viewed here.

Published: 25 August 2016

2016 Election of Directors

RSPCA Tasmania hereby gives notice of, and calls for nominations for, election of Directors to be held at the 2016 AGM. Valid nominations need to be received, no later than midday 13 September 2016 addressed to :

Mr Peter West
CEO RSPCA Tasmania,
553 Pass Road,
Mornington. TAS 7018

Nomination form available here.

Published: 05 August 2016

Talking Point: Stop industry going to the dogs

by Peter West CEO of RSPCA Tasmania.

If the problems in the greyhound industry are not effectively resolved, the RSPCA does not support greyhound racing.

Since the NSW Premier handed down his decision to close down the industry and the ACT Government also withdrew its support, I have been trying to see past the emotion from both sides of the debate, and focus on the facts.

Everyone I have spoken with, even in the industry, agrees the concerns about greyhound racing are larger than just euthanasia rates, and that there are complex issues that need to be addressed.

Industry representatives stress that in Tasmania there has been a concerted effort to address the main concerns around animal welfare, especially after the ABC story on live baiting went to air about 18 months ago.

While NSW and the ACT are making the bold move to shut down the industry, Queensland and Victoria are moving to a model more closely aligned to the Tasmanian system, which separates the integrity arm of racing from the racing authority.

The Queensland and Victorian decisions have given their greyhound racing industries more time. Time to come good or time to hang themselves? I guess time will tell. In those states, the governments are pulling every lever, including a massive injection of funds to achieve better greyhound rehoming rates, to get positive results.

Does the Tasmanian Government have enough money to make an effective or significant difference?

There is no doubt there are good people in greyhound racing in Tasmania; people who care for animals, who abide by all the rules, and who genuinely believe the industry can and should continue.

In its formal submission to the sitting Tasmanian Parliamentary Inquiry, RSPCA Tasmania outlined 14 areas of serious animal welfare concerns with the greyhound racing industry.

The concerns were: significant overbreeding and high wastage rates, high euthanasia rates and low rehoming rates, injuries suffered by greyhounds, lack of industry transparency and accountability, insufficient socialisation of greyhounds, housing conditions and environmental enrichment, enforceable standards for greyhounds, licensing and inspection regime, education of participants, extending the racing career of greyhounds, administration of illicit drugs and other banned substances, illegal live baiting, the welfare of greyhounds in the possession of disqualified owner/trainers, and issues around the export of Australian greyhounds.

Together with the Office of Racing Integrity, Tasracing believes it has addressed or is working toward addressing these 14 points of concern.

Progress definitely is being made, however there are still serious issues that require consideration and change.

It is clear that just by running greyhound races there will be injuries and sometimes deaths.

In 2014 there were 157 races across the state. Stewards report that there were 274 injuries, 13 illness-related incidents and 14 greyhounds were euthanised.

Is this acceptable?

On the issue of “wastage”, the significant number of dogs that will inevitably be made redundant at the end of their racing days cannot be sustainably rehomed.

Even if the number of post-racing greyhounds reduces, as the industry is saying it is, there will still be hundreds of greyhounds needing a new home each and every year.

The 35 per cent increase in rehoming retired greyhounds by the Greyhound Adoption Program this year represents just over 20 dogs (85 in total).

This is a tiny number considering about 400-500 greyhounds exit the industry in Tasmania each year.

The RSPCA has long expressed concern about poor animal welfare outcomes in the greyhound racing industry and has been frustrated in the past by the inability of the industry to see that there was need for change.

Tasmania has a limited market for new dog homes. What is the rehoming saturation point? What is an acceptable level of animals not being rehomed? I would suggest there isn’t one. It is clear to me that Tasmanians do not accept the killing of healthy dogs — once their value for sport, entertainment and gambling is over.

Whatever the Tasmanian inquiry report recommends, committee members must satisfy themselves that every dog going into racing will find a home at the end of their career. If the committee members cannot assure Tasmanians this will occur, the Government should be left with no choice but to follow the NSW lead.

On the issue of live-baiting, it is not correct to claim, as the industry does, that there have been no complaints or reports of live-baiting in Tasmania.

The last conviction for live-baiting in Tasmania was eight years ago. After the Four Corners story on ABC TV there were 12 reports of live- baiting or similar, all of which were investigated by RSPCA inspectors. While there was not enough hard evidence to prosecute any of these cases, it would be naive to believe live- baiting does not happen here.

The RSPCA has long expressed concern about poor animal welfare outcomes in the greyhound racing industry and has been frustrated in the past by the inability of the industry to see that there was need for change.

It is pleasing to see the desire of the greyhound racing industry in Tasmania to achieve better animal welfare outcomes, but is it all a case of shutting the gate after most of the greyhounds have bolted?

This opinion piece appeared in the Mercury Newspaper on August 5, 2016.

Published: 22 June 2016

RSPCA Tasmania Horse Community Information Sessions

RSPCA Tasmania’s Inspectorate Service will next week host three information evenings around the State for Tasmania’s horse owner community.

This initiative is designed to enable RSPCA to actively engage with the Tasmanian horse community and provide a positive, proactive approach to issues raised by the horse community over recent months.

The free information sessions will canvas relevant legislation, the commonly used Body Condition Scoring (BCS), legally acceptable animal condition, and RSPCA Tasmania’s involvement in cases of animal welfare.

Speakers at the sessions will provide general and veterinary advice on a range of equine care topics including tips on supplementary feeding of horses to maintain them in a good condition.

More than 120 people have already registered to attend the sessions.

RSPCA Tasmania Chief Inspector Ray Kroeze says "it been an extremely challenging season for horse owners because of the harsh drought conditions the State experienced earlier this year."
Horses are large animals and need to be fed substantial amounts of food to maintain a reasonable and acceptable body condition," Mr Kroeze said.

There are so many passionate people that contact RSPCA Tasmania with concerns for animals in need, or looking for support with their own animals, so we believe these information sessions will provide participants with a greater understanding of RSPCA’s legal obligations and limitations in these situations.

Our desired outcome from these community consultations is to continue engaging positively with horse owners and to change any negative perceptions into a more positive understanding of how the Inspectorate team goes about their daily business," Mr Kroeze said.

The free events will be held in Launceston at the Best Western (Tuesday 28 June), Burnie at the Menai Hotel/Motel (Wednesday 29 June) and in Hobart at the Old Woolstore (Thursday 30 June) .

Speakers:
Ray Kroeze : Chief Inspector - RSPCA Tasmania – will speak about the role of the Inspectorate and the Animal Welfare Act.

Debbie Grull : Veterinary Officer, Animal Services at DPIPWE – will speak about Body Condition Scoring of Horses.

Martin Connell : Territory Manager with Hygain – will speak about horse feeds and supplements appropriate for our conditions.

Full details of these events and the links to the pre-registration pages can be found here

Published: 06 June 2016

Extreme Weather Conditions

The extreme weather conditions around the state are presenting major challenges for everyone.

RSPCA Tasmania urges all animal owners to ensure the safety of themselves and of their animals.

We are aware of a few locations that, due to flooding and owners not being able to get to them in time, livestock are in difficulty” RSPCA Tasmania CEO Peter West said today.

All our Centres and our animal cruelty hotline are getting calls from concerned community members asking us to take action and help animals already in flood affected areas.

RSPCA Tasmania acknowledges that if animals have already entered swollen rivers due to flooding then it is most likely that nothing can be undertaken safely to help them.

SES and Tasmania Police are the best first responders in these instances – our staff and volunteers are aware of the situation and each of our Animal Care Centres stand ready to assist any lost or displaced animals.”

RSPCA Tasmania urges all Tasmanians to consider their own safety first and to leave anything dangerous to those that are trained to deal with it such as the SES or Police.

RSPCA Tasmania hopes that the community, including their animals, pulls through this extraordinary weather safely.

Published: 01 September 2016

RSPCA Tasmania appoints new Chief Veterinarian

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RSPCA Tasmania is excited to welcome experienced veterinarian, Dr Andrew Byrne to the new role of Chief Veterinarian and Animal Care Manager.

Dr Byrne has 30 years veterinary experience and was recently the Chief Vet for RSPCA Victoria. He may also be familiar to many as the public face of RSPCA pet insurance.

Dr Byrne will be based at RSPCA’s Launceston Animal Care Centre but will travel widely and use contemporary communications technology to liaise with other veterinary and Animal Care Centre staff around the state.

RSPCA Tasmania CEO Peter West says that thanks to the Work for The Dole program, RSPCA’s Launceston Animal Care Centre has a new facility exclusively for vet activities.

Now that we have the infrastructure and the fulltime expertise, we intend to considerably ramp up our de-sexing, vaccination and microchipping services for dogs and cats statewide,” Mr West said.

Obviously, RSPCA animals continue to be our first priority, but our longer term plan is to make these important vet services available to the general public.

We are very pleased that someone with such expertise and outstanding reputation has chosen to come to Tasmania to lead the implementation of our new vet care strategy,” Mr West said.

Dr Byrne says he’s looking forward to his new challenge.

I am keen to bring my expertise, knowledge and passion to assist RSPCA Tasmania in developing our veterinary program.

I will be drawing on my thirty years’ experience from other RSPCAs around the country and in private practice to bring improved animal welfare outcomes to Tasmanian animals.

RSPCA President Simon Froude says Dr Byrne’s appointment heralds a new era for RSPCA Tasmania’s vet services.

With Andrew’s considerable veterinary and management experience and with an additional new vet recently appointed in the south, RSPCA Tasmania is set to embark on another exciting phase in our renewal strategy.

Andrew will help us develop and implement strategic initiatives that will improve animal care and welfare outcomes in the Tasmanian community and at the same time, create sustainable value to the RSPCA,“ Mr Froude said.

We have taken the bull by the horns, as it were, and introduced new services that will not only benefit the community and fulfil our mission, but also have potential to sustain our animal care and inspectorate operations into the future”.

Published: 15 August 2016

RSPCA Cupcake Day 2016

Today is the 9th RSPCA Cupcake Day - the day when many hundreds of cupcakes will be baked, sold and consumed in homes, cafes, businesses, and schools right around Tasmania, raising funds for Tasmania’s peak animal welfare charity.

Cupcake Day is one of RSPCA’s Tasmania’s major fundraising programs. This year’s target is $40,000 and to date, 230 people statewide have registered on the RSPCA Cupcake Day website. However, many more individuals and businesses traditionally are “unofficially” fundraising for the campaign, which runs throughout all of August.

All funds raised from the campaign are critical to sustaining the operations of RSPCA Tasmania’s three Animal Care Centres and its statewide Inspectorate service, which investigates cruelty complaints.
Each year RSPCA cares for around 4,500 animals and investigates approximately 3,000 animal cruelty complaints.

For 2016 RSPCA Tasmania has added a new dimension to the Cupcake Day campaign, introducing the inaugural Schools Challenge, encouraging schools around the state to compete with each other in raising funds for Cupcake Day.
The Risdon Vale Primary School on Hobart’s eastern shore is one of 33 Tasmanian schools whose students have enthusiastically embraced Cupcake Day.

With a big day of cupcake sales expected at their official Cupcake Day stall today, Risdon Vale Primary’s Year 4/5 students have already raised several hundred dollars through online donations and are hoping to raise close to $1,000 overall.

Risdon Vale Primary School teacher Michelle Gearman has been a driving force behind the school’s Cupcake Day fundraising. She says it wasn’t difficult persuading the students to embrace the Cupcake Day campaign after an educational visit from RSPCA Tasmania CEO Peter West.

The students were very excited to help the RSPCA after that visit and they’ve really got into the spirit, bringing cupcakes from home for sale at school,” said Michelle.

This exercise has been a real winner from the school’s perspective because it fits so well with the Australian curriculum, covering maths, English and even science. The social development opportunities are enormous as well.

Beyond all that, it’s a great way to raise lots of money for this wonderful charity!

More information is available at

www.rspcacupcakeday.com.au

Published: 07 July 2016

RSPCA Applauds Baird Government’s Historic Decision on Greyhounds

RSPCA Australia applauds the Baird Government’s decisive action to end the cruelty of greyhound racing by banning the sport in NSW from July 2017.

The RSPCA provided extensive written and oral evidence to the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry which has found animal cruelty, mass greyhound killings and live baiting are systemic to the sport.

The Inquiry’s view is consistent with RSPCA’s position that there are significant and entrenched animal welfare problems inherent in the greyhound racing industry. These include problems with over-supply, injuries, physical overexertion, inadequate housing, lack of socialisation and environmental enrichment, training, illegal live baiting, administration of banned or unregistered substances, export and the fate of unwanted greyhounds with high wastage and high euthanasia rates.

The Baird government has made a courageous decision today, but one based on devastating evidence, and that has the overwhelming backing of the Australian public” said Dr Jade Norris, Scientific Officer, RSPCA Australia.

The greyhound racing industry lost its social licence in 2015 when ABC TV’s Four Corners exposed the horrors of live baiting using footage obtained by Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland.

As a result, criminal investigations by the RSPCA and Police have resulted in over 50 individuals being charged over live baiting offences across three states and 179 trainers and breeders charged for exporting greyhounds to Macau. Multiple trainers have also been banned by industry regulators from training or owning greyhounds.
“We urge all state and territory governments around Australia to read the Inquiry’s report and follow suit. We urgently need a national approach to ending greyhound racing across Australia.

The Special Commission of Inquiry has demonstrated that cruelty is intertwined into every level of this sport. Greyhounds have been regarded as disposable objects for far too long – it’s time to treat these graceful and intelligent animals with the respect they deserve.

The RSPCA is Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation and one of Australia’s most trusted charities. The RSPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.

Published: 17 June 2016

Suspend Live Exports to Vietnam Until the Brutality Stops

RSPCA Australia has called on the Government to implement an immediate suspension of the live export trade to Vietnam, until the security of the supply chain is watertight.

RSPCA’s Chief Science and Strategy Officer, Dr Bidda Jones, said tonight’s “7.30 Report” broadcast of sickening footage of Australian cattle being sledgehammered to death proved that the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) was an abject failure.

“Five years ago, we were promised by the live export industry and the government that this system would ensure that Australian cattle would be slaughtered according to minimum requirements”, Dr Jones said

“Tonight’s report shows that, five years on, Australian animals are still facing shocking treatment within and outside Australian Government approved slaughterhouses”.

“Since ESCAS was introduced in 2011, there has not been one export company prosecuted or had its licence revoked, despite repeated breaches”.

“Clearly, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has failed to adequately regulate the live export industry to ensure humane treatment of Australian animals”.

“There have been multiple reports of cattle being sledgehammered over recent years. In May 2015 and June 2016, Animals Australia provided the Department with evidence of sledge-hammering, showing the regulatory system was failing to protect cattle”

“RSPCA Australia is therefore also calling for the immediate establishment of an independent authority that will enforce live export regulations which are not compromised by the Department’s focus on expanding the live export trade”.

“More than 12 months ago the live export industry admitted it had lost control in Vietnam”.

”Despite the industry’s contention that it has spent ‘millions of dollars’ on its 6 Point Plan to improve the live export market, this investment has still not prevented cruel and barbarous treatment of Australian cattle”.

“We call on the Government to suspend the live export trade immediately to Vietnam. Its systems have failed, its Department has failed, the industry has failed, and the result is horrific treatment of Australian cattle”, Dr Jones said.

“Once again, cattle producers have put their trust in the live export industry and once again, they have been betrayed by the industry. The only way to prevent Australian animals from being subject to the atrocities we have seen tonight, and which occur every night in Vietnam, is to slaughter Australian cattle in Australian abattoirs to Australian standards, and export the meat. Meat exports are good for Australian animals, Australian farmers, Australian jobs and the Australian economy”, Dr Jones said.

 

The RSPCA is Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation and one of Australia’s most trusted charities. The RSPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.

Published: 02 June 2016

RSPCA Tasmania removes 177 animals from a single property

RSPCA Tasmania's southern-based Inspectors this week had cause to attend a property in the Midlands for a routine inspection. The inspection was conducted as a joint operation with Tasmania Police. As a result of this inspection, a large number of animals were located living in sub-standard conditions.

The owner was spoken to and subsequently the majority of the animals in his care were surrendered to the RSPCA and some were seized pending further investigation.

177animals1

Our Inspectors removed 119 chickens, 18 ducks, 2 dogs, 2 quail, 4 goats, 1 sheep and 31 pigs and piglets from the property. 14 of the ducks were subject to a seizure notice, but the remainder of the animals were all surrendered.

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All the animals will be subject to the normal standard veterinary health checks, and some of the animals that have been surrendered into our care will be available for re-homing once these checks have been completed. They will continue to be monitored by our Animal Care Centre staff to ensure they are suitable to be re-homed.

How you can help

Are you ready to welcome an animal into your home? Search the Adoptapet database for animals currently available for adoption at your local Animal Care Centre.

Every purchase from the World For Pets online shop through this link raises funds for RSPCA Tasmania. All products are RSPCA approved.

Every donation great or small helps RSPCA Tasmania continue to help thousands of animals in need every year.

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