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RSPCA Tasmania News

Published: 31 May 2016

RSPCA Tasmania frustrated and disappointed as Greyhound Racing report stalls again.

RSPCA Tasmania is extremely frustrated and disappointed that the handing down of the report from the Joint Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in Tasmania is being extended until 22 September this year. 

This latest extension announcement would see the release of the Inquiry outcomes 12 months after the original date. This is un-necessary and unacceptable,” RSPCA Tasmania CEO Peter West said.

RSPCA Tasmania calls on the new Select Committee Chairman, Tania Rattray MLC along with members of the Committee to urgently review this decision and endeavour to expedite the completion of the inquiry in a timely manner.

To view a full copy of the media release click here.

Published: 21 April 2016

Cat Management Plan “big step forward”

RSPCA Tasmania says the State Government’s draft Cat Management Plan released today is a big step forward from the existing Cat Management Act, which CEO Peter West has previously described as a “poorly drafted, toothless tiger”.

Speaking at the launch today at the RSPCA’s Launceston Animal Care Centre, Mr West said

“The new draft Plan looks at legislative and other changes to the Cat Management Act to address the contemporary challenges of domestic, unowned and feral cats in Tasmania.

“This is a challenge the whole Tasmanian community needs to consider so importantly, the draft Plan allows almost ten weeks for community consultation and feedback about this significant and growing problem allowing all stakeholders to be part of the discussion.

“RSPCA Tasmania is pleased that the new Plan incorporates many of the issues discussed over many months by the Cat Management Reference Group, which identified that the revised plan needed to be a mix of action, education and more research.”

Mr West said RSPCA Tasmania expects swift outcomes after the consultation period expires.

“We have waited a long time to see meaningful movement in this area and we hope that the Government ensures that the final plan is rolled out in a timely manner.”

Roy Morgan Research* shows that 34% of Tasmanian residents live with cats and 16% of residents live with both cats and dogs.

“As the state with highest level of pet ownership in Australia, it’s fitting that we should have a strong plan to tackle the ongoing challenges of feral, unowned and domestic cats,” Mr West said.

He said RSPCA is particularly keen to see a clarification of the roles played by the state and local governments, as key stakeholders, in managing stray and unowned domestic cats and trapped feral cats.

“Feral cats remain a massive problem for this State,” Mr West said.

“While humane control in certain areas is possible, RSPCA Tasmania believes that total eradication should be the ultimate goal despite being practically impossible to achieve.

“More research will be the key to helping us understand how feral cats operate in remote and wild areas and what measures can be taken to control their numbers.

“I urge the Government not to delay implementing any achievable recommendations identified in the consultation period and to maintain momentum on this issue.”

More information on the draft plan can be found at http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/invasive-species/cat-management-in-tasmania/draft-tasmanian-cat-management-plan

(*Roy Morgan Research - Doggone it: pet ownership in Australia 4 June 2015)

Published: 21 May 2015

RSPCA condemns greyhound racing’s culture of cruelty

The RSPCA condemns the illegal and horrific use of live animals for baiting in the training of racing greyhounds and is calling for the immediate suspension of all those implicated, close monitoring of the well-being of dogs at risk and an independent overhaul of the regulatory arrangements for the greyhound racing industry.

ABC Four Corners has tonight shown disturbing evidence of live rabbits, possums and piglets being used to train greyhounds. These helpless animals are tied onto mechanical lures and hurled at speed around the track while greyhounds are released to pursue, catch and maul them. Live baiting is illegal across Australia.

RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil said multiple greyhound trainers including those with a high profile in the industry across three states are implicated, indicating an entrenched industry culture where animal cruelty and suffering is seen by some as an accepted cost of the sport. “If it is this widespread in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, it would be naïve to think it isn’t happening elsewhere,” said Ms Neil. “The callous disregard for animal suffering shown by individuals captured in this footage should see the state and territory racing bodies immediately suspending the trainers and others implicated; the 22 already suspended is likely to represent only the tip of the iceberg. “The RSPCA is calling on each state and territory government to immediately instigate an independent review of the regulatory arrangements for the greyhound industry in their jurisdiction. “What ABC Four Corners has exposed is the abject failure of the greyhound racing industry to effectively regulate its own practices. It begs the question, how could this culture of cruelty have gone undetected by regulatory authorities?

“Urgent amendments to animal welfare laws in each state and territory are also needed to strengthen offences, enforcement, and penalties for perpetrators who take part in the barbaric practice of live baiting. “There are likely hundreds of dogs currently being trained by those individuals implicated or already suspended that will now be at risk of euthanasia. Greyhound authorities need to closely track these dogs, waive fees for adoption programs and substantially increase the support given to adoption initiatives,” said Ms Neil.

RSPCA Australia can confirm RSPCA NSW, RSPCA Queensland, and RSPCA Victoria are already investigating allegations of live baiting within the greyhound racing industry. The RSPCA urges anyone who is concerned about an animal’s welfare or has information regarding animal cruelty to contact their local RSPCA immediately: rspca.org.au/report-cruelty

Published: 28 April 2016

Warning after illegal trap caught local cat

RSPCA Tasmania CEO Peter West today issued a warning to all owners of small animals to be vigilant following an incident where there has been a cat caught in a leg-hold trap close to homes in Lenah Valley.

Chester (name chosen by our staff) was caught in an illegal trap sometime over the ANZAC Day long weekend and it wasn’t until an off-duty policeman, an after-hours vet nurse and one of our professional animal carers teamed up that poor Chester’s plight became better.

“Chester definitely used up one of his nine lives,” Mr West said today.

“The off-duty Police officer heard Chester’s cries and called an after-hours Vet nurse in North Hobart, who in turn called our staff member who attended the scene, cut Chester and the trap loose and got the dehydrated cat to the vet clinic for initial treatment. The RSPCA Tasmania Vet (at our Hobart Animal Care Centre) then performed surgery to remove the whole leg that had become excessively damaged due to Chester’s endeavours to break free of the trap.

“This trap was set close to homes and anything small could have been caught, like native animals, dogs, cats and worst of all it could have even snared a small child,” Mr West added.

RSPCA Tasmania will continue to monitor Chester’s recovery and all indications are that he will make a good recovery and hopefully be ready for adoption in coming weeks.

“It is an offence just to set a trap like the one that snared Chester; you don’t necessarily have to catch or have caught anything for it to constitute an offence,” RSPCA Tasmania Chief Inspector Ray Kroeze said today.

Traps are covered under Section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act.

Section 12(1) Subject to subsection (2), a person must not set, lay or place a leghold trap, glueboard trap or snare.
Penalty: (b) natural person, a fine not exceeding 100 penalty units ($15,400) or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.

Section 12(2) A person may apply to the Minister for an exemption to use a leghold trap, glueboard trap or snare.

“We will continue to investigate cases of illegal trapping, and other inhumane ways of catching and confining animals, and would encourage people to report this to the RSPCA,” Mr Kroeze added.

RSPCA Tasmania will continue to update their Facebook page with news on how Chester is doing.

Published: 01 April 2016

Free Range Hens: What will “Meaningful” Mean to Them?

RSPCA Australia says today’s definition of a new free-range egg standard by the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs may have been a waste of time.

RSPCA Australia’s Senior Policy Officer, Dr Jed Goodfellow, said the announcement of the Information Standard, requiring hens to have ‘meaningful and regular access’ to the outdoors, with a stocking rate of up to 10,000 hens per hectare, failed to provide the animal welfare assurances consumers were seeking.

“RSPCA Australia believes free range hens should be stocked at a maximum rate of 1,500 hens per hectare or up to 2,500 if a regular rotation system is in place.

“Free-range eggs should come from hens who actually go outside. The definition of ‘meaningful and regular access’ to the range is absolutely critical to the integrity of the Information Standard.

“The flock size, stocking densities inside and outside, layout of the barn, and the number of openings are all crucial to determining whether hens have ‘meaningful and regular access’. The conditions of the range, including whether shelter is provided, also play a critical role. If Consumer Affairs Ministers don’t get this right, we will be back to square one.

“In genuine free-range farms, all hens are able to access an outdoor range where they feel safe and protected and can express essential behaviours such as dust bathing and foraging. Inside, they are able to perch and lay their eggs in a nest.

“It’s important to note that none of these conditions are afforded to the 11 million hens currently confined to battery cages around the country. These hens suffer intensely and continuously throughout their lives. Consumers choose free range to avoid cages, and they deserve a standard they can have full confidence in.

“Today’s decision puts the interests of big business ahead of consumers, with hen welfare coming a distant third.

“Consumer Affairs Ministers must ensure that ‘meaningful’ access actually means something to the hen or else all of this has been a monumental waste of time,” Dr Goodfellow said

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.

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

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