Animal protection has been set up to fail. Every piece of criminal legislation in Australia is fully funded by the government - except animal cruelty laws.
Animal protection issues are primarily investigated and prosecuted by private charities, making the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act the only piece of legislation in NSW that requires fundraising from the public to be enforced. These charities receive minimal Government funding. For example, the Government only covers about 6% of RSPCA NSW’s enforcement costs.
But it gets worse. At any point in time, the Government could remove their enforcement powers.
And it is the Department of Primary Industries and the Minister for Agriculture – who also represent the very industries that use animals for profit – that decide on behalf of the Government which charities will retain or lose those prosecution powers.
This must change: Animal protection must be moved away from the Minister for Agriculture, and a Minister for Animal Protection should be put in place. We also need an Independent Office of Animal Protection that will oversee reforms and ensure there is proper funding for enforcement of animal protection laws.
Our laws are failing, but the answer is simple. We need a Minister for Animal Protection who can oversee animal cruelty laws and their enforcement.
Until we have a Minister for Animal Protection, the notion of "animal protection" will remain weakly existing in legislation - but never in practice.