The Hodgman Liberal majority government continued its attack on animal welfare standards in Parliament today, when questioned on the slashing of funding to the RSPCA.
Minister Rockliff ignored the questions from Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson, Cassy O'Connor MP, about the funding cut’s impact on investigations of animal cruelty and neglect in Tasmania.
"This is the final stroke in the Hodgman Liberal government’s hat-trick delivery on cruelty. First we had the reversal of the Labor-Green government policy requiring departments to purchase cruelty-free eggs, then the overturning of the ban on 1080, and now the radical cut of funds to the RSPCA,” Ms O’Connor said.
"We have been told the Department of Primary Industry will conduct inspectorate work in rural areas, but an already over-stretched and under-funded Department is not an independent body, nor is it the answer."
“The consequence of this funding decision will be fewer and less thorough investigations into animal cruelty and neglect, and fewer cases being taken to court under the Animal Welfare Act.”
"The RSPCA are being left to investigate domestic cruelty, but the record shows that the most serious animal cruelty offences are committed in intensive farming operations and in the primary industry sector, often on a mass scale."
"We have seen many notable cases in the Courts, and while the acts committed are beyond comprehension, at least the perpetrators were being investigated and prosecuted under the RSPCA."
"Premier Hodgman, Treasurer Gutwein and Minister Rockliff have taken less than 2 months to set Tasmania on a fast track to becoming the 'Cruelty State'."
"The Public Accounts Committee last year recommended that the RSPCA be funded at $850,000 pa to operate an fully effective inspectorate, however Minister Rockliff reduced their funding to less than half of what is required."
“The only conclusion to draw is that this Hodgman Liberal government is content to allow animal cruelty, to bolster and promote the inhumane factory farming of chickens and enable the poisoning of domestic and native animals with 1080.”
“Tragic,” Ms O’Connor said.