5 February 2019

Statement from RSPCA WA Interim CEO Ben Cave:

RSPCA WA is extremely concerned about the animal welfare crisis involving cattle unfolding on properties in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of WA.

When RSPCA WA receives complaints involving large numbers of commercial livestock, these complaints are referred to the State Government’s Livestock Compliance Unit based at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (formerly Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia) for investigation and action.

The Livestock Compliance Unit then decides whether to deal with the matter or to refer it back to the RSPCA WA Inspectorate. This is the process applicable under an ongoing agreement between RSPCA WA and the State Government.

The Livestock Compliance Unit ordinarily takes the lead managing large scale incidents, which in these current cases are in very remote areas, because they have the resources required.

Due to legal and confidentiality issues, RSPCA WA cannot reveal details in relation to whether complaints of animal cruelty and welfare issues have previously been reported to us.

However, RSPCA WA can confirm that where complaints have been received in relation to large numbers of animals in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions, they have immediately been referred to the Livestock Compliance Unit and any suggestions that complaints have not been acted on by RSPCA WA are incorrect.

RSPCA WA cannot make public comments about an active investigation being undertaken by another regulatory body, in this case the Livestock Compliance Unit. Any questions about the current situation should be referred to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development or the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development.

RSPCA WA will continue to respond promptly to reports of animal cruelty throughout WA.