2 August 2022

Tuesday, 2 August marks 130 years of RSPCA WA’s work caring for and protecting animals.

Established in 1892, RSPCA WA is one of the oldest and most enduring organisations in Western Australia, as well as one of the most trusted.

RSPCA WA was the first Society outside of the UK to enjoy Royal Patronage. It was formed on 2 August 1892 by a reading circle of five female friends, including Mrs Edith Cowan. Membership was one shilling.

Since 1892, RSPCA WA has rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed tens of thousands of creatures great and small, while continuously advocating for improved animal welfare.

Successes include increased maximum penalties for cruelty, an improved Animal Welfare Act 2002, and laws to stop puppy farming. We continue to push for an end to live sheep export, an end to the use of barren battery cages, plus key improvements to practices for animals used in agriculture, and for sport and entertainment.

RSPCA WA Chair, Lynne Bradshaw AM, said the milestone was a time to reflect on what the organisation had achieved, and the work still to be done to improve the treatment of animals across WA.

‘We are really proud to acknowledge the many dedicated employees and volunteers who have cared for WA’s most vulnerable animals over the past 130 years,’ she said.

‘In recent decades, there has been a dramatic and positive change in the way animals are valued in our society, and we’re proud the RSPCA has played a leading role in that shift.

‘When I started talking to people about the welfare issues with egg farming 20 years ago, for example, I could never have imaged we would be at the point we are today, where layer hen welfare is considered by most consumers when they buy eggs at the supermarket.

‘Today, RSPCA WA is a trusted voice in the community, and a strong advocate to Government, influencing changes to laws and policy to ensure animals are treated with dignity, compassion, and respect.

‘We have made great strides towards our vision to end animal cruelty, but there is still a long way to go.

‘As we mark this 130-year milestone, it’s important to acknowledge that our work is only possible because of strong community support.

‘RSPCA WA continues to receive more than 80 per cent of its funding from the public, and without this support the future of thousands of WA animals would look bleak.’

The WA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hired its first inspector in 1894, and another followed in 1906 to work in the Eastern Goldfields.

In 1920, the society became the first outside the UK to enjoy Royal Patronage, as offered by King George V. To this day, the State’s Governors give their patronage to the society.

In May 1998 the charity’s flagship event, Million Paws Walk, was held for the first time. Funds raised went towards opening RSPCA WA’s dedicated animal shelter in Malaga the following year.

Today, RSPCA WA provides important community services across the State, including education programs, community outreach initiatives, discounted pet sterilisation and temporary foster care for animals caught up in family and domestic violence. It remains the only charity authorised to investigate and prosecute cases of cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

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