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Liberals' Animal Welfare Let Down

Andrea Dawkins

Andrea Dawkins  -  Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Tags: Animal Welfare

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson

Minister Rockliff signalled the Liberals' plan to abandon their pledge to keep strengthening the Animal Welfare Act.

When questioned on when his promised animal welfare amendments might be tabled in Parliament, Minister Rockliff said they would be focussing on education programs.

When the previous Amendment Bill was being debated, Minister Rockliff promised it wasn't the last change we would see. Today, he admitted their focus wouldn't be on strengthening the Act.

Minister Rockliff said he'd referred any change to animal welfare laws back to the same advisory committee that recommend the very same updates to the Act in 2013. It's a clear case of watering down their advice.

The Liberals' have increased the penalties for animal cruelty offences, but won't fix the Act so underlying animal welfare issues can be addressed, and cruelty prosecuted. There’s no point having strong penalties if the laws are outdated and don’t get to court in the first place.

It's nonsensical, and a demonstration of a Minister conflicted in his obligations to industry and protecting the welfare of animals.

While education does play an important part in protecting the welfare of animals in Tasmania, we should be prioritising updating our archaic laws so they're in line with community expectations.

Tasmanians do not want to live in state that condones, or ignores, animal cruelty.

The Liberals' backtracking on the Animal Welfare Act is disappointing, but not surprising.

This is the latest in a litany of this government's animal welfare let downs. It follows funding cuts the RSPCA, as well as the reversal of the ban on 1080 and the Treasurer's procurement order that directed Departments to buy cruelty free eggs.