RSPCA fears funding setback

THE RSPCA fears animal welfare may ``take a back seat'' under the new state government, with funding for its inspectorate service in doubt.

RSPCA general manager Peter West said there was a negotiation process with the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment but it would be unclear until August how much government funding the service would receive.

The inspectorate service has six inspectors statewide that investigate animal cruelty and neglect.

Mr West said the service was ``exceptional'' and dealt with about 3000 complaints a year, with a 97 per cent success rate for prosecution.

``We do have a great record when we do go to court,''  he  said. 

Mr West said the August budget made for a ``challenging couple of weeks'' because the RSPCA needed to set a budget for the inspectorate service.

``We may need to look at what services are provided and how they are provided,'' Mr West said.

``Nationally, animal welfare has taken a back seat and so we are fearful on a local level that may be the case as well,'' he said.

Mr West said he was hopeful that in the next couple of weeks DPIPWE would have a better idea of what its budget would look like.

``Our relationship with DPIPWE is a strong one, with this knowledge we're hopeful we can get a positive result,'' Mr West said.

A government spokesman said negotiations on a future funding agreement with the RSPCA would be occurring ``shortly''.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green said Tasmanians ``would not accept'' cuts to the RSPCA.

The RSPCA last week condemned Treasurer Peter Gutwein's decision to lift a requirement for government agencies to buy only free-range eggs implemented by the previous government.

RSPCA general manager Peter West

RSPCA general manager Peter West

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