Analysis — Australian Government Needs to Act on Poor Treatment

YOU just walked in the door. There to greet you, like every other afternoon, is your best friend. They are loyal, loving and always there beside you. But these furry friends sometimes face horrific treatment. Last month, a man stabbed a dog in a Perth park. He copped a $1,000 fine and was on his way. Just think about that for a moment.

The Labrador, Luna, died after the incident. A friend of the owner said, “It’s been a very hard time for her with all the anxiety and stress she’s been under.” Facebook support pages are blowing up with utter disbelief that a human being could do this to another living soul.

Animal activists have recently slammed a court’s decision to keep greyhound live baiter Tom Noble out of jail. He strapped rabbits, piglets, birds, and possums to rails, and set’s greyhounds to eat them alive. If they want killed by the speed at which they are propelled around the race course using nothing but wire to keep them from flailing away, they are attack by the victorious canine, returning to its natural desires.

Organisations like the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) strive to prevent this cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. They raise community awareness on such issues, operate facilities tending to animal care and adoption, and enforce animal cruelty laws and prompt new legislation where required. But year after year, they are struggling to assemble the finances required to maintain this integral role or assemble any sort of prosecution that will bring offenders to justice.

And killers are walking free.

It’s simply not acceptable that this is still allowed in our culture today. The RSPCA assembles 94% of their funds from the community, through donations, patrons, and fundraising. 6% comes from the grant provided by the State Government. The McGowan government hasn’t been clear on whether the grant will inflate, or whether it will remain at the predetermined amount set by the Animal Welfare Act 2002.

In essence, the Australian Government needs to introduce more funding for organisations like the RSPCA and higher penalties for offenders to eradicate animal cruelty in our society. Without this, animal cruelty will remain ever present, and the culprits won’t be brought to justice.

Ever had a pet before? I have. And I would do anything to keep her safe, away from those monsters.

The government has an agenda. They have a budget. I understand this can restrict their ability to take evasive action. But what they can and need to do, is actively support what the RSPCA does, by doing things like getting more government inspectors on the street to work with existing RSPCA inspectors, starting community programs to educate and rehabilitate and just in general, being more proactive in their efforts in conjunction with these agencies.

The Animal Welfare Act 2002 specifies that the maximum penalty for animal cruelty in 5 years in prison, and a fine of $50,000. Going back a step, you can go on bail the day after your prosecuted.

Come on.

The government needs to install greater penalties for individuals and corporations, to not only provide an incentive not to “do it”, but ensure that they go running home and post all over their Facebook pages to not do it either. And call their Aunt in Carnarvon and tell her not to do it.

You get my point.

“Meat eaters fighting against animal cruelty.” Som­­­e may say its irony, but in my opinion, it shows there is still hope. The RSPCA has never promoted the whole ‘Vegan is the new black’ philosophy, I mean, meat is a great source of Iron, Magnesium and provide proteins beneficial for things like bone growth, but how the animal is dealt with is what they are all about. According to the University of NSW, the taste of meat is affected by the stress levels in the animals why they are being slaughtered.

Let’s just have a quick look at the bigger picture; In America, 95% of all animals killed in an abattoir aren’t protected under the few animal welfare laws they have there. China has an annual dog meat festival, complete with the mass slaughter of Labradors in the middle of the street. They breed thousands of monkeys a year, freeze them until they are required and gas them once “they are finished.” We should be disgusted by this. As a society, we are so inhumane in so many ways, and, let’s face it, we aren’t able to just flick a switch and put the RSPCA out of business because they’re all sitting around with no calls coming in. It’s just not gonna happen.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. I mean, in Zurich, even fish have a lawyer. Switzerland have the world’s strictest animal protection laws. They require you to provide a companion for social animals like dogs and birds, you can’t crop a dog’s tale, and that is just to name a few. When you are convicted of animal cruelty related offences, you are sent to jail for a maximum of life imprisonment. The Swiss Agency in charge of protecting their animal population is fully funded by the Swiss Government. Why can’t we mirror this here down under?

But, coming back to the smaller picture, we can change things in Perth.

If the government look at ways to implement community awareness programs and rehabilitation for known offenders, raise funding for agencies and introduce stronger sanctions, in conjunction with those organisations, we can positively influence the lives of animals.

The government has more than one reason to make some changes. Their assets are directly affected by the actions of these offenders: More dogs and cats are in pounds than ever before, according to recent data released by the RSPCA. More rangers are on the road.

Thy these offenders choose to choose these actions is unfathomable, but not only for their personal growth and development, as well as for the sake of animals in their vicinity, we need to have a serious look at rehabilitation programs. The government can’t expect a slap on the wrist, an ankle bracelet and a restraining order to do anything in the way of a long-term solution for these people’s own pain.

Contact your local government, find out what they are doing about animal cruelty or more to the point, what they are not doing, and demand change. Sign a petition, volunteer at a local animal shelter, be the change.

Let these words inspire you to take purposeful action, so the next time your best friend looks at you with the eyes of unconditional love, you can return the favour in a much more significant way.