26 October 2019

Statement from RSPCA WA Chief Inspector, Amanda Swift:

RSPCA WA is concerned to hear about another senseless act of violence against an animal - in this case the friendly kookaburra, Kevin, at the Parkerville Tavern.

It was reported to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline last night that a visitor to the tavern killed Kevin in front of other visitors including families with children. An RSPCA WA Inspector has made inquiries. Sadly, right now under Western Australian law, it does not appear that this horrific act constitutes an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

While RSPCA WA Inspectors can only take action under the Animal Welfare Act where an animal has suffered, the incident with Kevin the Kookaburra may have contravened laws designed specifically to protect native wildlife. RSPCA WA is cooperating with WA Police and will be in touch with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions on Monday in regards to this matter.

Anyone witnessing cruelty to animals is urged to report it immediately to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (278 358).

Statement from RSPCA WA Chair, Lynne Bradshaw, AM:

Animal Welfare law in WA is based on cruelty and suffering, and due to the quick nature of this bird's demise, it does not appear to meet the level of suffering required to become an offence under the law. Because of that, RSPCA WA Inspectors may not be able to prosecute for animal cruelty.

This is just one of the gaps in WA's animal welfare legislation, which is currently under review by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. The department is currently calling for public submissions to the review of the Animal Welfare Act 2002. If you are outraged by this horrific incident, please take the time to make a submission to the review to demand animal welfare laws that protect animals from senseless violence, such as this.

What needs to change? Under the current Act, inspectors can only charge someone for cruelty if they can prove the animal suffered. The Act does not clearly set out the duties that animal owners and others who come into contact with animals owe to them. A clear ‘duty of care’ provision, as is the case in most other Australian States, is necessary to better educate the community regarding the welfare of animals they come into contact with.

You can make your submission here: www.agric.wa.gov.au/animalwelfare/review-animal-welfare-act-2002