Change of fo­cus flagged for RSPCA

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - NICK CLARK

THE RSPCA wants to re­cap­ture its orig­i­nal pur­pose under a new leader after the res­ig­na­tion of chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter West.

“The Royal So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals should be our fo­cus, at the mo­ment we are fo­cus­ing on shel­ter­ing an­i­mals, so we are try­ing to be all things to all peo­ple,” Mr West said.

“I think we need to fo­cus more on that pre­ven­tion of cru­elty to an­i­mals.”

Mr West, the chief ex­e­cun tive for four years, will not re­new his con­tract in Fe­bru­ary.

The in­terim leader will be An­drew Byrne, who is presently the chief vet­eri­nar­ian.

Mr West said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would fo­cus on up­hold­ing an­i­mal-wel­fare laws through its in­spec­torate while leav­ing the shel­ter of an­i­mals to res­cue or­gan­i­sa­tions.

He said the RSPCA was too re­liant on do­na­tions from in­di­vid­u­als of about $1 mil­lion a year. When there was a short­fall of $300,000 in 2016-2017, the or­gan­i­sa­tion recorded a $780,000 loss.

Mr West said cen­tres in Ho­bart, Launce­s­ton and Devon­port may not all be main­tained after a re­view.

“We, as a com­mu­nity, need to grow up a lit­tle bit and un­der­stand that we are a pop­u­la­tion of 520,000 peo­ple.

“In WA, there are 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple and they have one RSPCA cen­tre.

“It is not that we need an RSPCA on ev­ery cor­ner, we can still look after an­i­mals very well by op­er­at­ing dif­fer­ently.”

Dr Byrne said there would be changes and “a few quite tough de­ci­sions” as the or­gan- isa­tion moved to a more sus­tain­able model work­ing with the Ten Lives cat cen­tre, the Dogs Home and other rep­utable res­cue cen­tres.

Dr Byrne said the or­gan­i­sa­tion wanted to help the an­i­mals most in need, such as sick and in­jured an­i­mals, and that was why it had been building the vet­eri­nary side of things.

The in­spec­torate would be in­creased from 4.6 to a six full­time equiv­a­lents.

Mr West said one of his achieve­ments was in­creas­ing the RSPCA’s live re­lease rate from 58 per cent to 80 per cent.

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