VIc farmers urge State Govt to take animal welfare role from RSPCA

Beef Central, 15/03/2017

VICTORIA’S peak farm lobby group wants Agriculture Victoria to be given the undisputed authority to regulate commercial farming zones, and for the RSPCA’s role to be confined to watching over domestic animals.

The Victorian Farmers Federation says the Victorian Government needs to act to stop animal activist groups from seizing the power to police farm practice, in its submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the Victorian branch of the RSPCA.

“The State Government is getting closer to unveiling its Animal Action Plan, and this is a perfect opportunity for the Government to give Agriculture Victoria the definitive authority to regulate livestock under legislation,” VFF President David Jochinke said.

“RSPCA Victoria does a fine job protecting and investigating cruelty towards domestic animals, but that role shouldn’t extend to farm animals.

“The feedback we’ve received from farmers is that RSPCA inspectors are aggressive, demanding, and less willing to work with farmers to improve animal welfare.”

Mr Jochinke chalked this attitude up to the RSPCA’s history of activist campaigning against commercial farming, which has led to an increasingly strained relationship with the farm sector.

RSPCA Victoria earlier this year pledged to cease all activism following an internal review of its operations, but Mr Jochinke flagged concerns the group was circumventing this commitment by using the national RSPCA to campaign on its behalf.

“There is a clear conflict of interest when you have RSPCA Australia actively campaigning against farming practices while RSPCA Victoria is being used to regulate the law for farms,” he said.

“RSPCA Victoria wants to be taken seriously as a regulator, so they have agreed to give up their activism, but their website still promotes campaigns by their national body to shut down the live export trade and to end the legal sport of duck hunting.

“This is clear proof that the Victorian branch is relying on the national branch to do its campaigning, and this is unacceptable for the farming community.”

Mr Jochinke said farmers cared about their animals’ welfare and the State Government needed to recognise the good work of the agriculture sector.

“Farmers recognise that to get quality produce from their animals they need to provide good care of their animals and as such many have undertaken their industries relevant quality assurance program,” he said.

Source: Victorian Farmers Federation. A copy of the VFF’s submission to the inquiry can be found here.


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  1. Kerry Mander, 16/03/2017

    POCTA (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act) is already so full of holes it may as well not exist at times. Good on the government for trying to fix it up. An animal is an animal and cruelty is cruelty. Most farmers love their animals and treat them kindly. The ones that don’t, of course won’t like it, but should be held to account. RSPCA should have MORE power. It is body dearly loved by vast majority of Australians, for a reason. Australians care deeply for animal welfare. ALL animal’s welfare.

  2. Hugh Winwood-Smith, 16/03/2017

    Let a department who’s goal is to maximise profitability police animal welfare? You’re joking right?

    Put all facilities under 24/7 publicly viewable surveillance, let the people decide if they like the way animals are treated within agriculture. I can hear the reply now “the public won’t understand what they are seeing”, yeah they will, they just won’t have the financial conflict of interest that blinds them to animal suffering.

  3. Rosemary Marshall, 16/03/2017

    The RSPCA must be doing a fine job if it has got the Victorian Farmers Federation wingeing to the Government.

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