Despite acknowledging animal welfare sentencing was out of date and needed legislative reform, Primary Industries Minister Rockliff refused to adopt the full recommendations from the Animal Welfare Act review, published in February 2013, Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson, Cassy O'Connor MP, said today.
"Mr Rockliff has committed to introducing sentencing amendments to the parliament before the end of the year, but has ruled out implementing all the recommendations from the Animal Welfare Act review which would ensure stronger animal welfare standards in Tasmania,” Ms O’Connor said.
"While increases in penalties for cruelty offences are welcome, Minister Rockliff's blatant disregard of the full recommendations of the review - which had comprehensive public and stakeholder consultation - shows he has very limited commitment to animal welfare in Tasmania."
"Increases in penalties are important, but when you have slashed inspectorate funding to the RSPCA and don't even have a single full time employee dedicated to animal welfare within the Department, your commitment to animal welfare is highly questionable."
"Minister Rockliff acknowledged the unique link between animal welfare standards and a producer's brand in the Estimates Committee today. By not taking reform of the Act, proper funding of the RSPCA and community expectations seriously, he is not only enabling animal cruelty and neglect, he is also damaging Tasmania's brand."
"Minister Rockliff has said that he is keen to pursue a 'contemporary approach' to animal welfare, but this Liberal government has demonstrated the exact opposite by slashing the RSPCA funding, reversing the procurement order for cruelty-free eggs in government departments and reversing the ban on 1080."
"We have seen a Minister who articulated his desire to be 'proactive' completely ignore recommendations around puppy farms, pronged dog collars, rodeos and animal research. It is a sad indictment on this government's approach to the welfare of animals in Tasmania," Ms O'Connor said.