20 November 2020

In the lead up to the March election, RSPCA WA is calling on all political parties and independent MPs to show Western Australians that they’re committed to animal welfare.

The RSPCA has released an Animal Welfare Matters policy document, outlining six key animal welfare actions it is urging all parties to adopt as part of pre-election commitments.

They range from increasing the number of Inspectors in regional areas to including animal welfare themes in the primary school curriculum, and improving the lives of animals in agriculture.

More than 70 per cent of Western Australians say animal welfare is important, or extremely important to them, making it a key election issue.

RSPCA WA believes the six priorities identified will improve animal welfare and, in some cases, stimulate economic growth. They are a blend of recommended actions that will improve the lives of many animals, foster innovation for producers, and support regional communities.

RSPCA WA Chair, Lynne Bradshaw, said the organisation is best-placed to advocate for this important election issue, having been caring for Western Australian animals for 128 years.

“Eight out of every 10 people in WA say our work is essential to animals in the State,” Lynne said.

“Our role is to act as a conduit for the community’s concerns about animal welfare, and to make sure those concerns are heard by WA’s decision makers.

“Animal welfare makes good social and economic sense; producers and retailers continue to recognise the economic benefits of good animal welfare practices as consumer demand increases for higher welfare food products.”

All six animal welfare actions have been fully costed at a total of $20.25m over the four years of the next term of government. They will, however, also generate savings through a reduction in abandoned animals, lower the costs associated with caring for large animals, and generate income through dog and cat boarding facilities.

They will result in Inspectors being placed in the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberly, increased pet sterilisations, a rehabilitation and rehoming centre for large animals, and address key issues in the agriculture sector.

RSPCA WA is experiencing enormous public demand for its services. During the current term of government, we have investigated over 25,000 reports of animal cruelty, provided care to around 6700 animals, and delivered information to thousands of people about animal welfare, responsible animal care and pet ownership.

The six actions

1: Delivering regional equity in animal welfare

Funding for infrastructure to support six new animal welfare officers in regional Western Australia, and ongoing funding, at a rate of 50 per cent of costs, for Animal Welfare Inspectorate services throughout WA to meet community demand and provide educational services to prevent animal cruelty.

2: Improving rehabilitation facilities for all animals

Funding to establish an All Animal Rehabilitation and Rehoming Centre to improve facilities for the rehabilitation and rehoming of larger animals, including horses and livestock. The centre would include education facilities to support Vocational Education and Training (VET) programs that focus on working with animals and a social enterprise model to deliver animal services to the community.

3: Educating a generation

Drive generational change in attitudes towards animals by integrating the RSPCA AWARE program into WA Primary Schools. Free resources would be available to children, educators and parents and will help prevent animal cruelty in the future. (AWARE: Animal Welfare: Awareness, Responsibility and Education)

4: A pilot Pet Sterilisation Program to reduce abandoned animals

Help the community comply with regulations to register and sterilise their cats and dogs by subsidising veterinary services for pet owners who may be experiencing financial difficulties.

5: Set a strategic path for leadership and innovation in animal welfare

Work with RSPCA WA to design a strategic plan for animal welfare in Western Australia.

6: Take action on improvements in welfare for animals in agriculture

Drive changes in animal welfare policy with measurable, achievable and meaningful outcomes for the agriculture sector.