AGRICULTURE and Food Minister Terry Redman has hit back at State opposition leader Mark McGowan and Member for Maylands Lisa Baker's claims the WA Government has shown a lack of concern for animal welfare.
"Volunteer groups are forced to play an increasing role in monitoring animal welfare due to the lack of funding and support from the Barnett Government," Ms Baker said.
"After 10 years the legislation is due for review to further improve protection for animals."
But Mr Redman said the opposition's claims were nonsense.
"In the 2011-12 State budget, the Liberal-National government doubled annual funding for animal welfare to $1.6 million, doubled funding to the RSPCA to $500,000, and also increased the number of animal welfare inspectors from six to 12," Mr Redman said.
"The previous Labor government failed to renew funding for inspectors beyond 2008.
"The Department of Agriculture and Food now has responsibility for regulating the Animal Welfare Act and is committed to enforcing standards of treatment and care.
"The Liberal-National Government has also played a leading role in ensuring animal welfare standards are met in the live export trade, an industry that brings hundreds of millions of dollars to the Australian economy."
Mr McGowan, who launched a discussion paper on improving animal welfare in WA on Monday, said the Strengthening Animal Welfare in Western Australia paper, written by Ms Baker, reaffirmed Labor's commitment to animal welfare.
"In 2002 the Labor government proclaimed the Animal Welfare Act containing some of the harshest penalties for animal cruelty in the country," Mr McGowan said.
"Despite increased community demand for better protection for animals, no new steps to strengthen or expand the scope of animal welfare legislation had been taken since 2002.
"The issue of animal welfare extends much further than protecting animals from cruelty and ensuring that animals bred for eggs, milk and meat are treated humanely.
"As more information becomes available that shows how animals are treated, Western Australians are demanding higher standards and better protection for both companion and stock animals.
"The connection between animal cruelty and violence to humans is well documented, as are the benefits of companion animals to human wellbeing.
"It is crucial that the animal welfare system is sufficiently funded and underpinned by a strategic policy framework." Labor's discussion paper is available at www.walaborleader. org.au