The Democrats are calling for animal cruelty prosecutions to become the responsibility of SAPOL.

In the wake of yet another animal cruelty prosecution blunder (the Brinkworth case) by the RSPCA the Australian Democrats are calling for large prosecutions, particularly those against large corporate interests, to be handled by a special division of the police.

“A small private charity ought not be responsible for animal cruelty prosecutions’ says Democrats lead candidate, animal welfare campaigner Jeanie Walker. ‘It leaves them open to being pursued for costs when a human error occurs and could leave them penniless, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in hard earned donations lost.

“Too many potential prosecutions are not proceeding through the courts due to concerns over financing expensive court cases or fear of repercussions in failed cases’ says Ms Walker. ‘The RSPCA needs to be free to concentrate on what it does best – protecting, de-sexing and re-homing animals and educating the public on animal welfare issues’.

“We would never allow other areas of our criminal justice system to be administered by a charity organisation so why is it allowed in the case of animals?

“The police already have the powers to pursue animal cruelty prosecutions and we are calling on the Government to instruct them to start using those powers immediately and work with the RSPCA to address animal cruelty which is rife in South Australia” says Ms Walker. “People are concerned about the treatment of animals and sick to death of the government’s ‘spin’ and want action immediately.

“The Rann government promised in the last election that they would address animal cruelty as a priority. Their long awaited and much celebrated review of the Animal Welfare Act has been widely condemned as nothing more than an expensive paper pushing exercise. Without enforcement of the Act it is totally useless” says Ms Walker. “They have done nothing to alleviate the suffering of animals in this state.

“It has been extensively researched and proven that cruelty to animals is a precursor to violence and cruelty against humans. If perpetrators of animal cruelty keep escaping punishment and even getting compensation for their crimes then we are promoting a more violent society and this is totally unacceptable to the Democrats and the Australian public” says Ms Walker.

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