RSPCA seeking clarity on definition of essential services

The RSPCA has today written to Health Minister Greg Hunt and other public health officials seeking urgent confirmation that vital animal care and protection services will be able to continue as ‘essential services’ under increasing pandemic control measures.

RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell said the RSPCA was advocating out of concern for its own critical operations, as well as on behalf of all those involved in the care of animals.

“We’re concerned with ensuring that animals are included in the conversations about the impact of tightening virus control measures across the community,” he said.

“RSPCAs across Australia are responsible for delivering essential frontline animal care and protection services – including our Inspectorates, animal care centres, and veterinary clinics – and we’re already implementing all recommended health, hygiene and risk management protocols,

“In addition, we’re seeking confirmation that other primary animal carers will be able to access the premises where animals are kept and continue to provide them with food, water, attention and medical care.

“These include, for example, zoos and aquariums, stables for racing and recreational horses, animal management services and local pounds, research facilities, and other breeding, housing and boarding facilities.

“And this includes if and when these facilities are no longer open to the public.

“There could be disastrous consequences for human health and welfare as well as animal health and welfare, if people are unable to care for, and are forced to abandon, the animals that depend on them for survival.

“In these times of great uncertainty, Australian animal and pet owners need to know they will be able to keep caring for their animals,” said Mr Mussell.