Victoria takes small steps to stamp out cruelty

By : Humane Society International December 19, 2019

Humane Society International (HSI) has welcomed updated regulations for the Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) but wishes they went further.   

During the consultation, which attracted over 2000 submissions, HSI Australia called for several improvements to phase out mulesing, prohibit cruel methods to control wildlife and an end to cruelty in rodeos. We have been pleased to see some of our recommendations come into force in the regulations announced by the Andrews Government this week.

"HSI Australia applauds Victoria for regulating for wildlife friendly fruit netting and the ban on the sale and use of glue traps for rodents”, said Ms Georgie Dolphin, Program Manager for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International. "Certain types of fruit netting are a major hazard entangling birds and flying-foxes causing injury and death but thankfully can be replaced by wildlife friendly designs. Glue traps are a particularly cruel way to trap and slowly starve rodents and should rightly be banned”, said Ms Dolphin.

HSI is pleased that Victoria has become the first state to mandate pain relief for sheep undergoing 'mulesing' which is a painful procedure slicing the skin from a young sheep's buttocks to prevent fly strike. Although we note the measure is long overdue.

"While Victoria might be the first, it is incredible that mulesing has been allowed to go on without mandatory pain relief for so long”, said Ms Dolphin. "Today many retailers and consumers are rejecting mulesing outright because sheep can be bred to be flystrike resistant and make painful mulesing redundant altogether. It would have been stronger progress if Victoria had used the new regulations to expedite this innovation and prescribe a mulesing phase out.”

"It is disappointing that Victoria continues to permit events such as bull riding at rodeos when they have the potential to cause significant injury, suffering or distress to the animals involved. These spectacles might be viewed as a tradition but there should be no place for such events merely as a form of entertainment in a compassionate society that respects its animals”, said Ms Dolphin.

Victoria has disappointingly allowed the continued use of leghold traps for 'wild dogs', despite recent genetic research showing canids throughout Victoria having high levels of dingo ancestry. Victorian regulations allow animals to be trapped alive for up to three days, causing considerable unnecessary stress and suffering in the absence of food or water and exposing them to the elements or predation.

"Animal welfare regulations are often playing catch up with community attitudes and technological innovation. There are several updates in Victoria's animal welfare regulations that are to be warmly congratulated but in other areas the regulations still fall short of the mainstream animal loving community's expectations”, concluded Ms Dolphin.

Image Credit: Rod Long/Unsplash

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About HSI Australia

HSI concentrates on the preservation of endangered animals and ecosystems and works to ensure quality of life for all animals, both domestic and wild. HSI is the largest animal protection not-for-profit organisation in the world and has been established in Australia since 1994