RSPCA Victoria has continued to flirt with animal activism by pushing its biased anti-hunting beliefs and setting intentions to campaign for the end of duck hunting in the next 12 months. The group, which operates under the guise of an animal welfare organisation, revealed its six priority advocacy goals for 2021/22 in early August and in addition to putting an end to duck hunting, it also listed the banning of battery cases, reform of animal welfare and wildlife legislation in Victoria and the overhaul of three animal racing codes.
RSPCA chief executive Liz Walker told the Stock & Land “we’re opposed to duck shooting on the basis it’s cruel and results in fear, distress and injury and death of hundreds of thousands of native water birds annually. It’s a hard line to walk but we think it’s a really important one for an evidence-based organisation like ours to navigate.”
The organisation describes itself as a community-based charity working to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. The largely government and publicly funded charity has been the subject of several state inquiries in past decade as its tendency to test the boundaries of a statutory authority’s purpose often draws political attention.
SSAA Victoria has called out the RSPCA Victoria branch on many occasions in recent years, particularly when there was a partnership with notorious animal activist group Animals Australia. Appearing at a Victorian Government inquiry into the group in 2017, SSAA Victoria representatives petitioned for the RSPCA Victoria branch to be stripped of its statutory powers and government funding following misleading anti-hunting campaigns.
In contrast to this month’s announcement, in 2016 RSPCA Victoria vowed to stop attacking duck hunting after it brought in consultants to run an independent review into the branch. The review found the ‘tone and emotion’ of such campaigns had negatively infringed on the work of inspectors. RSPCA Victoria CEO Liz Walker told the ABC: “We certainly understand that over the past few years there have been issues which we’ve campaigned on, and their tone and the way we’ve done that definitely impacted on trust with our stakeholders and we apologise for that.”