The RSPCA has intensified its opposition to the proposed introduction of a recreational hunting trial on public land in Western Australia. As reported by ABC Radio National, the RSPCA has released a series of newspaper advertisements displaying graphic images of dead animals with the aim of spreading the message that dead animals were not trophies and that animals don’t deserve to be treated cruelly by recreational hunters.
However, SSAA Western Australia fought back with ads of its own displaying the message ‘They’re not trophies. They’re pests!’ SSAA WA President Ron Bryant also appeared on state TV pushing the message that hunting is a legitimate form of pest control and that the RSPCA was out of line.
In a shameful turn of events for the so-called animal welfare organisation, it was found that the RSPCA’s chosen images had actually been altered to make the images look more graphic and offensive. In what seemed to be a regular play from the PETA playbook, the anti-hunting campaign has now caused many people to question the operations of the RSPCA. WAToday.com.au reported on the manipulation of the image of an American hare (not Australian rabbit) as ‘disgraceful’, as well as SSAA WA President Ron Bryant’s disbelief at the RSPCA’s campaign to demonise ordinary Australians who just want to help farmers with pest management. Other media commentators have criticised the organisation for hitting a ‘new low’ by being caught doctoring photos and therefore spreading false information.
In a bigger hit to the RSPCA’s credibility, former RSPCA WA boss Eric Ball has written a scathing report to the government where he labels the RSPCA as ‘lost’ due to a cultural change that is now unacceptable to many. The Sunday Times reported of an exclusive investigation into improper fundraising within the RSPCA and the organisation’s apparent misunderstanding that it doesn’t need to be accountable for its actions.
After these recent events, a potential parliamentary inquiry into the RSPCA now looks to be a reality. While RSPCA WA president Lynne Bradshaw has previously stated that the organisation has nothing to hide from a so-called ‘witch-hunt’, it seems more than likely that there are indeed some skeletons rattling in the closet. Even the media opinion pieces are now calling for an inquiry into the organisation.
The SSAA understands that the tactics and deliberate misinformation by RSCPA WA are the actions of just one RSPCA state branch, but based on recent events, the culture uncovered here is almost certainly to be replicated in other states.