A parliamentary inquiry has recommended a WA Government department be handed much greater control and oversight of RSPCA-led prosecutions.
After a year-long probe into the RSPCA,¬†chaired by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Rick Mazza and dismissed by critics as a witch hunt, the parliamentary committee has made 26 recommendations, according to an article on the ABC website,
They include a proposal to give the state’s Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) power over all prosecutions.
Mr Mazza and government members of the committee likened some of the RSPCA’s prosecutions to those conducted by “private law firms”.
The Government has two months to consider the report’s findings before it is required to provide a formal response to State Parliament.
The majority report found there were not “adequate checks and balances” over enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, likening the RSPCA to a “private prosecution using private law firms and lawyers to prosecute animal welfare offences”.
The RSPCA is contracted by the State Government to conduct animal welfare inspections and prosecutions.
“The lack of direction and oversight by the Department of Agriculture and Food has resulted in RSPCA WA general inspectors acting independently in prosecution matters,” the report stated.
“The current system for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act would be strengthened by ensuring that all prosecutorial decisions by RSPCA WA general inspectors are subjected to oversight by a public body.”
The report recommends DAFWA be required to “consent” to an animal welfare prosecution and be given the “express power to direct and conduct all prosecutions”.
Another finding was that¬†”RSPCA WA has been careless in its accuracy in some of its advertising campaigns” (In other words they are bullshitters – Ed.).
Mr Mazza rejected suggestions the inquiry was a witch hunt and a waste of money, saying it was sparked by valid community concerns.
“I don’t know that the recommendations and findings are harsh on the RSPCA,” he said.
“In fact if the Government does agree to adopt some of those recommendations, it will only help to strengthen the connection between the Government and the RSPCA in enforcing the animal welfare act.
“I think it was a good opportunity to clear the air.”
You can read the full report HERE.