This 1997 edition of Good Weekend raised concerns about the RSPCA and cruelty toward farmed animals. What has changed for the animals since?

This a photo of me holding an issue of Good Weekend that I have kept since December 1997, when it was published. The striking cover shows a gorgeous piglet, with the following written underneath: “ ‘What about me?’: It’s strong on cats and dogs, but has the RSPCA abandoned farm animals?”
The feature story inside, which quotes me representing Animal Liberation NSW, looked at the work of the RSPCA, its powers, and the practicalities of a charity needing to enforce state animal cruelty laws.
Almost 25 years later, what has changed? Almost nothing.
The RSPCA, along with the Animal Welfare League, are the two charitable organisations approved to investigate and prosecute acts of animal cruelty in NSW.
So how bad is the current situation? Here’s a snapshot:
* The RSPCA successfully prosecutes less than 1% of complaints they receive
* The RSPCA’s policy of not investigating Approved Farming Scheme producers, coupled with the evidence from the NSW Police Force that they do not have expertise in relation to animal
welfare as it relates to animals in primary production, compromises the ability of RSPCA to investigate potential animal welfare breaches.
* The same government department responsible for animal agriculture, and therefore sanctions practices like the slaughter of bobby calves and day-old chicks, is also in charge of animal protection
This is the status quo we know the community does not accept, demonstrated earlier this year when I chaired a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into state animal cruelty laws.
The main findings that came out of the inquiry were:
* The community’s animal welfare standards have increased, yet the actual conditions within the industry still lag far behind
* There is a huge conflict of interest in having the same government department responsible for both animal welfare and animal agriculture
As such, our committee made a number of recommendations, the main one being the state government establish an Independent Office of Animal Protection to oversee animal cruelty law in NSW.
The NSW Government must respond to the committee’s findings this December, which is why it’s crucial we keep putting pressure on them to do the right thing.
NSW needs an Independent Office of Animal Protection. An Independent Office of Animal Protection would take on the role of developing policies, procedures, standards and guidelines for the protection of animals in NSW, as well as investigate animal cruelty complaints, enforce our animal protection laws, and prosecute those who harm animals.
Please support my call for an IOAP by signing the petition: