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Animal welfare advocates told nothing specific in animal law

Lynne Partridge is concerned for the welfare of cattle on a paddock near her home, but vague laws make it difficult for authorities to act.
Lynne Partridge is concerned for the welfare of cattle on a paddock near her home, but vague laws make it difficult for authorities to act. Tanya Easterby

A HEAVY workload and vague legislation make it hard to achieve convictions for animal cruelty or neglect, even in cases where it seems obvious, it was claimed yesterday.

Animal welfare advocates responded to social media outrage over yesterday's story in The Gympie Times, about the suffering of cattle, confined to a Curra paddock and apparently lacking adequate feed.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said its Gympie region inspector had a very large territory and her workload meant it was necessary to prioritise so the worst cases were dealt with first.

Another problem, according to one caller, was that the laws the RSPCA and others enforced were vaguely worded, in some cases unavoidably so.

A check of the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act, which deals with issues of alleged cruelty or neglect, showed that this may be the case.

"Nothing's ideal," the caller said.

"There is no maximum temperature an animal should be exposed to; there's no minimum standard for food and water.

"There are no specifics about that sort of thing.

"We have to be fair to the RSPCA, because things are not ideal.

"People can be treating animals neglectfully by most people's standards without breaking any laws.

"Sometimes the circumstances are disgraceful.

"There's nothing black and white in the law."

The Act defines cruelty with subjective words such as "unjustifiable, unnecessary or unreasonable" and refers to "actions the community would perceive as cruel".

Topics:  animal activist rspca welfare

Gympie Times