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Inquiry into animal cruelty laws in New South Wales


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I don't want to put anyone out to roast but I do want an effective animal protection and welfare agency in this country. If they are found to be too far from the acceptable mark on those two single po

Mine is 5-6 pages long detailing my personal experience regarding how RSPCA inspectors (and others) manipulate the wording of sections of POCTAA to their own requirements, the standard of care of seiz

This is part of the job I don't think they do well either. Lots of people don't seem to understand the difference between discipline and abuse, between meeting basic care needs and neglect or between

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I have contacted  about the latest rspca seizures of the cattle and he has contacted me to say he will take late submissions when the subject is as important as what has just happened so although it is closed... if it is serious breech he will accept them for submission and has

 

gee some pretty well written ones. for example 123

Edited by asal
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It’s about time RSPCA powers were reassessed

 

  • The Morning Bulletin
  • 7 Dec 2019
  •  
img?regionKey=MSUsJTY3FAzuEwPXDUjtZA%3d%3dPicture: Zizi Averill ANIMAL WELFARE: The RSPCA seized 1500 head of cattle from the properties of a NSW farmer over fencing issues. They were in good condition not like these "drought affected" cattle after the long dry season.

FARMERS need not worry about animal activists coming onto their property and walking off with a cow, pig or a sheep, that they may be trying to rescue and put in the back of a vehicle.

RSPCA can get a government department to tick and flick their recommendations without checking the facts for themselves, walk onto your property at any time and seize your stock for whatever reason then muster and stuff them on to several trucks and send them to market. Heed the warning from John Williams a farmer in NSW recently on Alan Jones, Sky News. No one is safe. RSPCA seized 1500 head of cattle from his properties according to John not 1100 in a sweeping raid. When I saw his story on the news I could not help but notice the good condition of the cattle as everyone else did, and the feed in the background. Thinking something was wrong I immediately got in contact with my counterpart in NSW.

This person took charge of the terrible wrong that was happening like a dog with a bone and steered John in the right direction to get his side of the story out there.

Who are we? We are animal activists who are disappointed and angry at the direction that the RSPCA in these tough times for everyone has taken and in particularly taking against the elderly and farmers, people with intellectual disabilities or those do not have the capacity or education to effectively defend themselves and those with mental illness. They are the most vulnerable people in our communities who have no money for legal representation to tell their story. Their informal advocates are ignored. I thought that the RSPCA supported Beyond Overwhelmed. I must be wrong.

In a bazaar twist, John started to restock his property this morning buying his own cattle back that were stolen from him. He should not have to do that. Apparently it was all over fencing he could not get done, not animal cruelty.

The powers that have been given to the RSPCA need to be reassessed. Reassessed in WA where they no longer do prosecutions. Many people are now supporting an investigation into the RSPCA and it should be done across Australia.

Lyn Laskus

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not a one, I suspect they have made them hidden, the lady asked me if I wanted my name withheld or confidential. I think I ticked name withheld but beginning to wonder did I hit confidential? just cant remember. have the acknowledgements of receipt  and asking me which I wanted them to be so I know they have them.

while we were discussing I did tell her I realised how ill submitting them has made me. which I think may have made her decide to make them confidential

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hey, How many know you can listen to the people being interviewed tomorrow?

 

Could have today, But I didnt know

 

You can listen live, tomorrow.......... just click on the links to listen tomorrow. wish had replay of todays available.. only just learned this

 

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/listofcommittees/Pages/committee-details.aspx?pk=263&fbclid=IwAR1BcynOOEbG9bwO4FUNk-pOfrBclCGA9i2vAxpfBMzxYUPAWzQNezDfJKw#tab-hearingsandtranscripts

 

 

 

This is the direct link to the list of people who will be interviewed and asked questions and the times they will be... its two pages of names and times.

 

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/transcripts/2293/Hearing Schedule - 13 Feb 2020.pdf

 

This is the direct link to the webcast for tomorrow. 13/2/2020

 

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/pages/macquarieroom-webcast-page.aspx

 

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I notice that very few private citizens are being interviewed... just industry groups...

 

Hopefully they will call a few of us private citizens to talk about our experiences with RSPCA... not holding my breath at this point though... *sigh*

 

T.

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it was pretty upsetting listening to the representatives from the National Farmers Federation...........they didn't have a clue.

were saying what a wonderful working relationship the NFF has collaborating with the rspca.

 

even worse, happy with them doing the prosecuting with not a freaking clue that was not their field at all. Had always been done by the Public Prosecutor until they decided there was more money to be made doing it with their own inhouse team of money gatherers , (and that's literally), he became the President of rspca nsw.   Talk about conflict of interest, wasn't even put out for tender

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

May be in another state, but pity didnt think to send a copy of this to the enquiry.

 

 note the mental anguish of the targets. 

perhaps one of the weak links of the human mind, has great difficulty coping with bullying.

 

 

 
 
 

Greenough vets Matt and Ina Carrick, who argue they were harshly treated by the RSPCA.Greenough vets Matt and Ina Carrick, who argue they were harshly treated by the RSPCA. Credit: Supplied, Richard Rossiter

RSPCA accused of abusing power as WA vets ask to appear before parliamentary inquiry

JOHN FLINTPerthNow
August 10, 2015 6:37PM

INA Carrick remembers her first wedding anniversary in 2010. Instead of being with her vet husband Matt in Darwin for a long-planned romantic getaway, she was in a Geraldton courtroom, having been flown there — at the RSPCA’s expense — from the Northern Territory, via Perth, to be an expert witness for the charity in a horse cruelty case.

The equine vet and horse-hospital owner had offered to give evidence via video link from Darwin, but the RSPCA prosecutor felt she would have a bigger impact in the courtroom. Her opinion on all things horse-related was evidently valued.

Fast-forward five years and the Carricks are readying to provide different testimony. They have asked to appear before a parliamentary inquiry into the iconic institution they once supported.

 

They now share the view of former long-time RSPCA president Eric Ball that the WA branch of the animal welfare organisation has lost its way. They claim to know too well the culture of “provocation and punishment” that Mr Ball says has replaced “care and compassion”.

Dr Ina Carrick said the animal charity chose the big stick over diplomacy in a dispute that flared last year.

Without any inspection of her horses, Dr Carrick said she and her husband were hit with a legal order to erect a shelter in their 8ha paddock at Greenough Equine Veterinary Centre.

The paddock was home to 24 mares used as part of an embryo transfer program. The mares, most of them rescued from a knackery, were in perfect health, the Carricks say.

The order — a Direction Notice issued under Section 40(1)(b) of the Animal Welfare Act — was signed by the RSPCA’s Perth-based chief inspector Amanda Swift and delivered to the horse hospital in March last year.

The RSPCA claims it had received three complaints.

“The complainants were concerned about the welfare of horses in the yards without shelter when the temperature was in the high 30s and rose to over 41C,” RSPCA chief executive David van Ooran told The Sunday Times.

“The site was visited by the local inspector who took photographs and brought the matter to the attention of staff at the clinic.

“Attempts to engage with the clinic were unsuccessful.”

The Carricks dispute this. They suspect the Direction Notice was retribution for having spoken up for other horse owners in the area, who had been told by the RSPCA to erect shelters.

Dr Carrick said horses in the area “don’t need to be provided with shelter 365 days of the year”.

“Low humidity and ever- present strong cooling southwest ocean winds means that there are very few days in a year that a horse might feel any ill effect from the sun in this area,” she said.

“In our situation we did have the contingencies to move them to paddocks with shelter as well as deploy several 100m x 20m sprinkler systems, if and when the need arose ... We were never asked about our contingency plans.”

The order gave the Carricks four weeks to erect a shelter or be prosecuted and face a penalty of up to $20,000 and one year’s imprisonment. Instead they de-stocked the property.

It resulted in the temporary closure of the hospital and the shutdown of its embryo transfer business.

“We had spent a lot of money developing that business,” Dr Carrick, 34, said.

“It’s gone, it’s finished.”

They also had to scramble to find alternative properties to agist the 24 mares.

The couple said the powerful notice also had implications for Matt’s vet practice, Bos Vet & Rural. Between the two businesses, there were five vets on site, but the RSPCA had overlooked their expertise.

Dr Matt Carrick, 37, said the RSPCA wouldn’t tell him what type of shelter he needed to erect, or provide any specifications.

“I took a stand because I just couldn’t handle being bullied and intimidated in this way when there was absolutely no welfare outcome to be gained by it,” he said.

The Carricks were offended to be sent by the RSPCA “irrelevant” guidelines for running an equestrian event, as well as a dictionary definition of the word “ensure”.

“As veterinarians with more than 20 years of combined experience we felt shocked, ” the couple wrote in a submission to the inquiry.

“Serving a large veterinary practice with these type of documents (was) provocative.”

 

Horses in a paddock at Greenough Equine Veterinary Centre. Image supplied by the RSPCA.Horses in a paddock at Greenough Equine Veterinary Centre. Image supplied by the RSPCA. Credit: Supplied

To the Carricks, it felt like the RSPCA was throwing its weight around. Though the charity itself has no power, it can nominate staff to be appointed general inspectors under the Animal Welfare Act. The appointments are made by the Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), which is responsible for administering the Act.

Dr Ina Carrick said the good health of the mares was pivotal to the success of the embryo transfer business.

“I employed a nurse to look after these horses and to make sure they’re fed well, that their feet were looked after, that they’re drenched properly, they’re wormed properly, they’re vaccinated and that there are no mares that are getting bullied,” she said. “I went to a massive effort in order to ensure these mares were absolutely 100 per cent in their prime. The fact that there was no shelter in that paddock did not impair their welfare at all. If any were sick or showing even the slightest effect from heat, of course I would have acted on that because it would also not be in the horse’s welfare interests. It would not be in my interests either.”

Even when MP Paul Brown intervened on behalf of the Carricks, the RSPCA refused to revoke the notice.

At the crux of the dispute is the fact that a Direction Notice issued under Section 40(1)(b) of the Act cannot be reviewed or overturned by the Agriculture Minister, or the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT). Had a similar Direction Notice been issued under Section 47 of the Act, the Carricks could have appealed to the Minister or the SAT.

The couple were told by DAFWA that Section 40(1)(b) applied to urgent situations.

DAFWA investigated and wrote to the Carricks saying it would issue a newsletter to all inspectors to make “a reoccurence of an inappropriate use of Section 40 of the Act unlikely”.

The newsletter says: “A direction under Section 40(1)(b) for food, water or shelter is to be used where there is an urgent and immediate need for the provision.”

 

Ina Carrick of Greenough Equine Veterinary Centre with one of the mares on her property.Ina Carrick of Greenough Equine Veterinary Centre with one of the mares on her property. Credit: Supplied

Dr Ina Carrick said the RSPCA told her they disagreed with DAFWA’s instruction.

And in a response to The Sunday Times, Mr van Ooran defended the use of Section 40(1)(b) over Section 47.

“Direction Notices are issued by an authorised inspector who uses the section of the Act they consider most appropriate for individual situations,” he said. “In this particular case, the Direction Notice was complied with and the matter resolved.”

Dr Carrick said the whole experience had been emotionally and financially draining.

“At one point I stood in the middle of the paddock crying my eyes out while talking to the Department of Agriculture because I didn’t know what to do,” she said.

“We were quite naive. We thought, ‘Surely this can’t be happening’. They don’t have any evidence that the horses’ health was compromised. No one to this day from the RSPCA has seen even one of these horses, so therefore they have no evidence ... But I wasn’t aware they didn’t need evidence.

“After doing some research we found out that the Direction Notice we were given was irreversible and we could not appeal against it and that not even the Minister for Agriculture could reverse it ... We were informed by the department that it was only to be used for cases of extreme animal welfare problems, but it was it used against us ... We don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“Are all of my clients in breach of the Act because their yards are not under cover and their cattle are exposed?”

MLC Paul Brown told State Parliament it was “mind-boggling” that a civilian organisation had such powers.

[email protected]

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I want to know why Emma Hurst was allowed to ask so many questions of the various people giving evidence... when she isn't a part of the committee.

 

Starting to look like a massive Animal Justice Party farce... grrr!

 

T.

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Well we had to expect it.

 

The other "enqury" "s held in Victoria and WA didn't achieve anything, done just to be seen to be doing something.

 

As for the pending WA legislation, just going to make it all breeders are legal puppy farms just as is for Vic and NSW . 

 

just had to hope and pray it would not be so.

 

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  • 3 months later...

??

 

Well that was a total fizzle

 

no ombudsman to investigate abuses of power.

 

 

 

although does this no 13, mean they can no longer do their own prosecutions?  If so wonderful, although have to see that to believe it ....

 

 

Recommendation 13 

That the NSW Government establish and fully fund a specialist unit within the NSW Police Force to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty offences.

 

 

 

 

 

bit confused about what this means?

 

Recommendation 14 

That the NSW Government establish an independent statutory body, the Independent Office of Animal Protection, to oversight the animal welfare framework. Further, that the NSW Government consult stakeholders on the appropriate functions of the new body

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Not sure yet.

But i'm reading it as...

 

A recommendation to put legislation and prosecution under independent public oversight-

And let RSPCA go back to being a preventative charity.

 

i hope so!

 

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1 hour ago, moosmum said:

Not sure yet.

But i'm reading it as...

 

A recommendation to put legislation and prosecution under independent public oversight-

And let RSPCA go back to being a preventative charity.

 

i hope so!

 

somehow if that is the case, I expect they will NOT "go back to being a preventative charity" without kicking and screaming all the way.

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9 hours ago, asal said:

somehow if that is the case, I expect they will NOT "go back to being a preventative charity" without kicking and screaming all the way.

Neither can I. And thats IF the recommendations are enacted.

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I read it as the animal libbers looking to update POCTAA to recognise sentience, impose higher penalties for animal cruelty offences, and better fund whichever parties are tasked with enforcement. However, with increased government funding also comes some form of accountability... so fingers crossed that bit is enacted.

 

Funny how AWL say that they are aiming to be completely self funding for their inspectorate within the near future, yet RSPCA still have their hand out, but don't feel accountability is needed... *sigh*... AWL admit shortcomings of current complaint processes regarding their practices, RSPCA does not (funny that).

 

Personally, the main thing I want to see happening is accountability... an indepentent ombudsman to deal with breaches of power/procedure/law. Currently there is absolutely no accountability short of complaining to the entity that is perpetrating the offence(s)...and it's unlikely that will get you far... grrr!

 

T.

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I know I'm a bit late to the party on this but I wanted to comment on the equine vets story Asal posted above. I don't agree with how the RSPCA went about things at all but shouldn't all animals owned by humans have access to shelter? On large farms cows will shelter from rain and sun under trees. Wild brumbies will shelter from the same under trees and overhanging rocks and in gullies. Wildlife also shelter from the elements in and under natural growth. It is something instinctive. It is not specified in the story if there were any trees in that paddock and the photo makes it look like there was none. So even though the vets were able to assess that being without shelter (and by that I'm assuming they mean man made shelter) was not harming the animals in anyway, I'm sure if there were trees for shade and rain protection on that plot of land the horses would be making use of it. If there are no trees then a man-made shelter of some type is another option. If I saw farm animals on a plot of land in stinking hot sun with no shade option or standing all soggy in a rain storm for the same reason I'd also think it was a bit harsh. What would you think?

 

Are people (owners and the RSPCA) getting too pedantic about what words mean and what basic needs could entail? And just because an animal isn't being physically harmed is that a reason not to provide a little more if you can? Particularly with farm and companion animals. We know enrichment is a big thing for wild animals in captivity so why not for other animals we own?

 

Just some things I was pondering about that particular story....

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53 minutes ago, Little Gifts said:

Are people (owners and the RSPCA) getting too pedantic about what words mean and what basic needs could entail?

There are strict welfare/husbandry standards set out for virtually every type of animal you can think of LG... however, even if you are complying  with same (or even above), RSPCA can "form an opinion" that an animal isn't getting something it needs and sieze it. POCTAA, EAPA, etc are just ambiguous enough in their wording to allow for a fair bit of overzealous interpretation also...

 

At my work, it's part of my job to regularly check the various welfare standards for each type of animal we have, and make sure that we are aiming well above them in how we care for our animals. Some standards are state dictated, others are federal... I pick the strictest ones available and try to do even better than what is mandated. There is a reason that we always get an A+ rating in our DPI audits. Unfortunately, the RSPCA march to the beat of their own drum in these matters, and you can never be certain what they will choose to find fault with at their own "discretion"... *sigh*

 

T.

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