Author Topic: Right hands and left hands: cat welfare in Tasmania  (Read 660 times)

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Right hands and left hands: cat welfare in Tasmania
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 07:51:10 PM »
It has been reported that the State government is to give tens and thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds to various organisations for cat management projects – including a rumoured $60,000 to RSPCA Tasmania. The projects are reported to involve spaying and neutering programs amongst other initiatives. Animal advocates are nonplussed by the distribution of the grants, questioning whether different arms of the government know what each other is doing in providing even more public money to an organisation it has itself placed under investigation.

‘The government is providing a rumoured $60,000 to RSPCA Tasmania for this purpose,’ said Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty’s Suzanne Cass. ‘It is simply extraordinary that it is providing tens of thousands of dollars more to an organisation that is under investigation by its own Parliamentary Standing Committee for Public Accounts over matters to do with what it has spent the hundreds of thousands of dollars on that it has already received in taxpayer funds. As well, there are unresolved complaints before the Department of Fair Trading in relation to it being in breach of its governing Act, the Associations Incorporations Act’.

StopTAC is calling on the government to publicly disclose what accountability and transparency measures the government has put in place to ensure that this money is spent on the purpose for which it is given, and not diverted to paying down the organisation’s ever increasing legal bills. Ms Cass also believes that the organisation could possibly be operating illegally, after its AGM last September was aborted, and has only just been rescheduled for next month. Its constitution requires an AGM to be held within four months of the end of the preceding financial year. The RSPCA has also made statements that it intends to ‘appoint’ several ‘highly credentialled people’ to its board when the organisation’s own constitution states that 6 positions on the board are elected positions. It further states that one position is to be held by a representative of the entity responsible for the administration of the Animal Welfare Act, and a representatives from each of its branches. StopTAC is therefore questioning how the board proposes to ‘appoint’ these people.

‘The RSPCA’s commitment to cat welfare was always questionable after it closed the Burnie Cat Shelter, and its announcement that it has recently imposed savage cuts on its veterinary services’, continued Ms Cass. ‘We have received credible reports of cats and kittens in the north west being put in plastic bags and dumped on roads and in clothing bins’.

We believe that if there is money to be spent on cat welfare, the Burnie shelter should be re-opened as a matter of urgency’, said Ms Cass. ‘But we do not believe that the RSPCA can possibly be the best organisation to deal with this, and we are absolutely stunned that the government is providing tens of thousands of dollars more of public money to an organisation it already itself has under investigation in more than one of its departments’.

Ms Cass believes that the government is ‘sitting on its hands’ in relation to the PAC enquiry and the complaints filed with the Department of Fair Trading and is calling for openness and transparency from both agencies.

Suzanne Cass, Stop Tasmanian Animal Cruelty, 15.02.2013