08 Apr ALARM AS LABOR EYES RADICAL ANIMAL WELFARE LAWS
Labor has intensified its anti-rural ideological crusade, with the State Government announcing it has teamed up with the RSPCA to deliver radical changes to Queensland’s Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
Katter’s Australian Party MPs, who were only made aware of plans through the media, said the shake-up could have a culturally-catastrophic impact on rural freedoms as well as the state’s agricultural, racing, animal management and hunting industries.
The use of baits like 1080 and traps, paid for by government and used for decades to successfully control rampant feral pests like pigs, cats and wild dogs, could be banned as part of the changes.
Further there’s fears Labor will outlaw entrenched and environmentally-beneficial outback cultural practices including hunting (particularly with dogs) and implement severe punishments to vets who do not report “animal welfare concerns” to the RSPCA.
Carting leashed dogs around in the back of a ute, which is common and normal in rural and regional areas, could also be banned.
KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter, who owns a rescue dog and horse, said Labor was toying with a new precedent of governmental over-reach with the review.
“I have serious concerns about governmental over-reach here – there is no doubt this move is ideologically-driven by extremists who are detached from reality,” he said.
“Cruelty and causing deliberate, unnecessary suffering to animals is abhorrent and should be treated as such – but this is not what this is about,” he said.
“I’m concerned a blanket set of rules will be drafted up by bureaucrats, who are being guided by inner-city activists, that will impact terribly on rural and regional communities.”
Mr Katter said alarm bells began ringing last month when the RSPCA successfully prosecuted a case of “animal cruelty” involving a woman who filmed “her two dogs (biting) and (holding) a feral pig”.
The woman, who in 2018 was on a property north of Kingsthorpe clearing out feral pigs at the request of the landowner, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully allowing an animal to injure another animal over the incident.
She was fined $5,000, setting a sensational legal precedent that could have significant impacts on the state’s hunting sector.
Mr Katter said instead of targeting hunters, the RSPCA should be lobbying the State Government to address Queensland’s chronically-high numbers of feral pigs, dogs and cats that each year decimate native wildlife populations including kangaroos, cassowaries, emus and turtles.
Rural and regional parts of Queensland are disproportionately adversely affected by such pest species, with up to an estimated five million feral pigs living in North Queensland alone.
“Rural councils have been waiting for more than a year to get some clarity on the future supply of 1080, which is an absolutely crucial tool in managing wild dog populations,” Mr Katter said.
“Left unmitigated, these dogs decimate native fauna populations and cause terrible loss and suffering with livestock.
“It seems the writing is now on the wall for what the Government’s plans are in this regard.”
Mr Katter said Labor’s assault on rural and regional people knew no bounds.
“It’s easy to appeal to people’s emotions on such topics and while there is some good intent, we need to be critical about what’s truly going on here,” he said.
KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said the RSPCA clearly misunderstood the realities of living in rural Queensland when it came to dealing with animals.
“I was very concerned to hear RSPCA lawyer Tracey Jackson’s comments in a recent radio interview that there are farming and industry practices which the community does not think are acceptable anymore,” he said.
“You have to wonder to which practices is the RSCPA referring, and exactly which community thinks these are unacceptable? No-one I’ve spoken to in my electorate has ever raised concerns.
“Hunting dogs are an important part of feral pest management on properties, including farms. They are trained well and lovingly cared for by their owners.
“Animal activists should not be dictating changes to the Animal Care and Protection Act based on how they feel about something; facts should always be leading this discussion.
“Feral pig hunting is not glamorous or cuddly – it is a necessary job in rural and regional Queensland, as is the use of 1080 bait and traps.
“I think this crackdown is just another spit in the face of our farmers and hunters who have for years faced a continual assault on what they do by an unchecked and overzealous government bureaucracy, coupled with a lack of investment by government in feral pig management on private and state-owned land.”
Last week Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner called for Queenslanders to submit their views in response to the Palaszczuk Government’s major animal welfare laws review.
The Minister said, in response to evolved “community expectations (on) animal welfare”, Labor wanted feedback on:
- Mandatory reporting by veterinary professionals of animal welfare concerns;
- Prohibited events, regulated surgical procedures and offence exemptions;
- The use of baits and traps;
- Restraining dogs in open utility vehicles and trucks;
- The use of animals in science;
- Inspector powers and arrangements for externally appointed inspectors;
- The management of animals seized during animal welfare investigations; and
- Penalties for animal cruelty.
Queenslanders can submit their views up to Friday May 21, 2021, and should visit biosecurity.qld.gov.au and search for ‘ACPA review’ to complete the survey or submit a written response.