RSPCA Australia statement on the passing of Dr Hugh Wirth

We are saddened today to hear of the passing of Dr Hugh Wirth AM, an outstanding and lifelong advocate for animal welfare.

Hugh is one of the animal welfare movement’s strongest and most vocal proponents. There’s greater awareness of animal welfare than ever before in Australia today,  much of which is due to the pioneering work done by Hugh Wirth.

While Hugh’s achievements are numerous, one of his greatest was bringing together the various state and territory RSPCA bodies through a federated organisation, RSPCA Australia – thus creating a leading national voice for animals and animal welfare across the country.

Hugh was the first President of RSPCA Australia, a position he held for around two decades in total, and through his tireless contribution to RSPCA Victoria, remains the longest-standing  President of any Australian state or territory RSPCA.

In addition, Hugh made an unparalleled contribution to improving the understanding and appreciation of animal welfare on an international stage, including through his work as President of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (now World Animal Protection).

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.


Gary Humphries

Chair, RSPCA Australia