The RSPCA is urging the NT Government to strengthen its animal welfare legislation and ensure animals in the Territory are given the same protection from cruelty provided in other States.

The maximum penalty for animal cruelty in the Northern Territory is just $28,000 – the second lowest in the country. Almost half of what someone convicted in WA could be fined and $70,000 less than in Queensland.

The NT Government has announced plans to review the Animal Welfare Act and is giving residents across the state the chance to make public submissions.

“This is a great opportunity for the NT community to make their voices heard and really ensure animal welfare is protected in the country’s top end,” said Jed Goodfellow, RSPCA Australia Policy Officer.

“Territorians do not want to see another incident like Mataranka Station which saw hundreds of cattle die and no one held responsible.

“We’ve got some serious concerns about the Government’s proposal to abolish the Animal Welfare Authority which we believe should instead be strengthened and given greater funding,” said Mr Goodfellow.

“The RSPCA’s submission is also seeking significant changes to maximum penalties along with increasing the range of offences to include the use and possession of electric shock collars and pronged collars, glue traps and exotic animals in circuses.

The RSPCA is also pushing for greater powers for animal cruelty inspectors allowing them to enter the land around a premises to provide relief to an animal (i.e. to disentangle or provide food and water), enter a premises to check compliance with an Animal Welfare Notice, and the power to conduct random inspections of commercial facilities that use animals. All powers which are afforded to inspectors in other states.

Media contact: Kate Eliasson, 0419 748 907, keliasson@rspca.org.au