• Question Without Notice-Cats dying in freezers at NSW pound

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. On 3 April, the Sydney Morning Herald reported allegations of aggravated animal cruelty at Wagga Wagga pound. Volunteers at the pound claim to have found dead and dying cats that had been dumped in freezers while still alive. A Fairfax media investigation found that over the past three years more than 80 dogs and cats had vanished from the pound’s books. RSPCA New South Wales conducted an investigation and found no evidence of wrongdoing that would lead to convictions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

    Will the Minister exercise his powers under section 34B (4) of that Act to request a report from the RSPCA providing the reasons for the decision and table that report in the House? If not, why not?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I remember reading that article about Wagga Wagga pound. I will take the question on notice and provide a relevant response. It has been some time since it was published, and I want to refresh my memory of the details.

    UPDATED ANSWER PROVIDED BY THE MINISTER: As one of the enforcement agencies under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, RSPCA NSW has advised that it has investigated complaints about Wagga Wagga Pound and does not intend to commence proceedings. RSPCA has advised it is working with the pound regarding animal welfare.
    Records of surrendered or stray animals kept in Council pounds are not covered by a Code of Practice under POCTA, they are regulated under the Companion Animals Act 1998 administered by the Office of Local Government.

  • 18/04/2016: Question With Notice, Pig gassing cruelty investigation

    Last June I had a meeting with Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair regarding the gassing of pigs at Rivalea slaughterhouse. In this meeting I presented footage of the gas stunning process captured as the pigs were lowered into the chamber. In addition, I asked for the Minister to visit in person with myself and other concerned colleagues, the Rivalea facility and witness first hand the gassing process.

    Unsurprisingly the Minister declined the offer of a slaughterhouse visit. I then wrote a formal letter to the Rivalea management so as I and a member of my staff could visit the slaughterhouse, this was rejected without reason. So as you know, we, attempted to visit ourselves, we were not received with a warm welcome.

    It has to be asked if everything is OK then why all the secrecy? Why the denials and refusal of inspection?

    Well according to Minister Blair all is OK, in a response letter sent to my office he confirmed he had viewed the footage and that everything is fine at Rivalea. The issue filmed was merely the actions of individual workers as opposed to systemic cruelty. The RSPCA had inspected the facility and found it to be compliant. All is good, nothing to see.

    I do NOT accept this and so I my questioning of the claims in the letter have been written and formally submitted to the Minister, a response is required by the 28th of April.

  • 26/08/2015: Debate speech on NSW Ag-Gag Bill, the so called Biosecurity Bill 2015

    The Animal Justice Party agrees with the principle that biosecurity in New South Wales is everybody’s responsibility but, as the bill currently exists, we cannot support it for three reasons. Firstly, the Executive Government is insisting on exercising excessive power, let alone its refusal to give that administration to the police and the judiciary. That strikes at the fundamental principle of the Westminster system, which is held in high esteem and based on fundamental democracy. Secondly, the Executive Government is insisting on excessively punitive penalties. Thirdly, as has been trumpeted from the rooftops by the Government, the Government is claiming that this bill is crucial to protecting the activities of agribusiness that include intensive farming or factory farming of poultry, pigs and cattle by cracking down on activists who document cruelty to animals. That is what they do: they document cruelty to animals—nothing else—and therein lies the rub.

    There is absolutely no evidence—zilch, nil evidence—that activists have brought any disease onto any farm property in New South Wales.


    Read the full speech HERE

    Watch the full speech below.

  • 17/11/2015: Question Without Notice, Koala Park Sanctuary

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. Earlier this month the Koala Park Sanctuary in Sydney pleaded guilty to and was convicted of three charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for failure to provide veterinary treatment to emaciated koalas. The sanctuary had also previously been found to have breached the general standards for exhibited animals. Given this conviction and proven breaches of the standards, why has the departmental secretary not exercised his authority under section 30 (1) (a) of the Exhibited Animals Protection Act to cancel the park’s licence?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the honourable member for his question. Koala Park Sanctuary has entered a plea of guilty to three charges of failing to provide veterinary treatment to five koalas in its care. The charges were laid by the RSPCA under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. The failure to provide veterinary treatment related to the failure to investigate emaciated body condition and eye complaints, and the failure to provide treatment for dehydration and chlamydia infections.

    The matter has been adjourned to 2 February 2016 at Parramatta Local Court for sentence. In addition to the proceedings initiated by the RSPCA under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Department of Primary Industries has issued the Koala Park Sanctuary with seven directions with regard to koalas and other animals in the park. The directions issued include keeping animals’ records up to date, fixing fences of enclosures, providing adequate shelter, removing debris within enclosures and providing adequate veterinary treatment for the koalas.

    The park has recently been criticised in the Sydney press and in a United Kingdom [UK] media article. The UK article raised several concerns. Some of these relate to the appearance of the facility and the perceived value for money of the entry fee. These are matters for prospective attendees to make up their own mind about. While some of the journalist’s conclusions about the state of the animals clearly are not an expert’s opinion, the article and supporting photographs suggest some animals are not in good condition and that a number of management standards are not being followed. The department will continue to work with the Koala Park Sanctuary to ensure compliance. It should be noted that a conviction under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is a ground for suspension or cancellation of an exhibitor’s authority, and the department is mindful of this in its dealings with Koala Park Sanctuary.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister elucidate as to why the mindfulness has not moved to the cancellation of the Koala Park Sanctuary’s licence?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: As I said, the matter has been adjourned until 2 February 2016 at Parramatta Local Court for sentence. The department will continue to work with the park to ensure compliance. Also as I noted, a conviction under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is grounds for suspension or cancellation. I suspect that we will know more about this matter once it has returned to court.

    Watch the video below.

    Hansard link – https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC20151117039?open&refNavID=HA8_1

  • 10/11/2015: Question Without Notice, Impounded Dogs

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, representing the Minister for Local Government. In 2013-14 more than 20,000 impounded dogs and cats were killed by local councils and the RSPCA. Given that section 64(5) of the Companion Animals Act states that councils have a duty to consider alternatives to killing, by what accountability mechanism does the Minister satisfy himself that councils are responsibly exercising that duty? And given that the Office of Local Government figures show that approved rescue groups under section 16(d) rehomed close to 8,000 animals rescued from death row last year, will the Minister explain why these organisations receive no funding from government?

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I thank the honourable member for his question. It is a question of great detail which I will refer to my colleague the Minister for Local Government. I do remember, however, recently he asked me why we had not done something about the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service [WIRES] signs and when I checked, they were not our signs, they were WIRES’ signs. We need to check on this and I will take the question in good faith and pass it on to the Minister for a detailed answer.

    Hansard link – HERE

    No answer has yet been provided.

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