Farm lobby tells inquiry of RSPCA fears

23 Aug, 2015 02:00 AM
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Industry bodies have told a parliamentary inquiry committee the RSPCA does not have the right to criticise the agriculture industry's traditional businesses, such as the live export trade.
Industry bodies have told a parliamentary inquiry committee the RSPCA does not have the right to criticise the agriculture industry's traditional businesses, such as the live export trade.

WA lobby groups WAFarmers and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) have presented their concerns about the RSPCA's stance against live exports at a State Parliamentary inquiry hearing on Monday.

Both groups testified before the parliamentary committee looking into the role of the RSPCA in WA.

PGA policy officer Ian Randles told the committee the PGA was concerned about where the RSPCA WA was heading.

"WA farmers don't understand why the RSPCA pursues action against live export and it's time it was tested in an open parliamentary inquiry," Mr Randles said.

"What are their motives?

"WA farmers don't understand the motives in attacking live export and it's appropriate that it is tested.

"The RSPCA management will have a chance to have their say."

Mr Randles told the committee it was inappropriate for the RSPCA to receive government funding which could help it campaign against legal businesses.

He also told the Farm Weekly it was unacceptable that the RSPCA received $500,000 from the WA government.

"The fact of the matter is, this would allow them to use $500,000 of their own money to run a campaign against a lawful legitimate business that the WA government supports, so why do they get public monies that will allow them to do that?" he asked.

Mr Randles said the lines between commercial and companion animals seemed to be blurred.

"We need to understand they live very different lives," he said.

"Traditionally the RSPCA has focused on companion animals and we worry they can't see the difference.

"We can't apply the same rules people prescribe to their pets that we do to our production animals.

"But it doesn't mean they are treated any less fairly."

RSPCA's former president Eric Ball, and WAFarmer's representatives Tony York and Kim Haywood also gave evidence to the inquiry.

Ms Haywood, WAFarmers livestock, dairy and wool executive officer, said it seemed the RSPCA had shifted its focus away from its traditional duties.

"They need to stick to their role, to focus on companion animals," she said.

"The main issue we have is that they have moved away from their agenda.

"We said we are happy for them to fulfil their role to individual animals but they don't have the right to come out condemning an industry sector."

Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Rick Mazza, who called for the inquiry, established and chaired it.

Nationals MLC Paul Brown, Greens MLC Lynn McLaren and Labor MLC Sally Talbot and Liberal MLC Nigel Hallett who sat on the select committee.

FarmWeekly

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