Learn English while learning about daily life in Australia, with Rob McCormack
Podcast Number 119 – Animal Welfare in Australia – The RSPCA
(This podcast is 11 mins 15 seconds long).
It’s amazing how much people love their pets (see Podcast 16). I guess this is true of people all over the world. In Australia, people are concerned for the welfare of all animals, not just those which we chose to keep as pets. Our concern is that they should always be treated humanely. In this podcast, I would like to talk about how we protect animals in Australia and especially the critical role played by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (or RSPCA for short).
Let’s face it – unfortunately some people don’t look after their animals properly and there are even some people who are actually cruel to animals. Thankfully, these are very few. There are many people who have the responsibility for looking after animals. Some examples include household owners of cats or dogs, farmers with cattle or sheep, race horse owners and trainers, breeders of pedigree dogs or cats, companies who transport animals from one place to another, greyhound racing trainers or in fact anyone who has the responsibility to look after the animals in their care. Their responsibility is to ensure that the welfare of the animals in their care is maintained. Animal welfare means that the animal is healthy, comfortable, well fed, safe, not suffering from pain, fear or distress and able to live a life where they can express their normal, natural behaviours. This includes ensuring that, should they become sick or injured, the animals are given appropriate veterinary care or are humanely euthanized if that is appropriate.
Animal welfare laws are in place in every state and territory in Australia and all Australians who are involved with animals must abide by these laws and regulations. In each Australian state and territory, the government appoints inspectors whose job it is firstly to identify situations where animal welfare is not being maintained according to the law, and secondly to prosecute offenders where appropriate. Members of the Police Force in each state have this role in animal protection, along with other inspectors who are appointed. In all states except the Northern Territory, the government has appointed the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or RSPCA, as inspectors for animal welfare.
The RSPCA has a branch in every state and territory. As well as being inspectors, they do a range of other important things, all aimed at protecting and caring for our animals. I will talk about the RSPCA in my home state of Victoria, as each state branch is a little different. Note that I will only do a brief summary here. For detailed information, please visit the RSPCA Victoria website, at https://www.rspcavic.org/.
As inspectors, it is RSPCA’s job to receive and investigate reports of cruelty and neglect of animals. Where required, their job includes rescuing animals and prosecuting the offenders in court. For example, every year in Victoria they receive around 10,000 reports of possible animal cruelty or neglect from members of the public, all of which need to be checked out. In addition to reports about animals in households, they can be required to inspect animal situations in abattoirs, circuses, hobby farms, markets, pet shops, riding schools, rodeos, shelters, zoos and many more. Luckily, in 2018/19, there were only 94 prosecutions in Victoria for breaching animal protection laws. Typical examples of investigations could include sick or injured domestic animals, pets without enough food, water or shelter, domestic animals which are underweight or emaciated, pets being bred in puppy or kitten factories (which is illegal) and selling of puppies or kittens in pet shops (which is now illegal in Victoria). Some types of animal welfare issues are handled by the police, such as when a pet is found locked in a car on a warm day. This is an emergency and is handled by Police who can attend from the nearest police station immediately and rescue the animal from the car.
Another important role of the RSPCA is to provide shelters for unwanted domestic animals. In Victoria there are 7 animal care centres where unwanted or lost domestic animals are kept and cared for. In 2018/19, the RSPCA cared for around 20,000 animals, over half of which were cats. RSPCA staff and volunteers ensure that these animals are well cared for. Some animals are re-claimed by their owners, but many are offered for adoption by a new family. You can view animals available for adoption online and RSPCA processes ensure that all animals go to the right home and the right family, as each adoption is for life. https://www.rspcavic.org/adoption I must admit that I smile when I look at the online pictures of the animals up for adoption. It is no wonder that around 10,000 animals are adopted by new owners each year from RSPCA Victoria. What a great service this is both for the adopted animals and their new owners.
The RSPCA also has other roles. It operates two veterinary clinics which the public can use to keep their own pets fit and healthy. Another major function is education of the community and particularly school children. They are taught about animal welfare and skills in caring for our animals.
Lastly, the RSPCA plays an active role helping to bring about improvements to animal welfare through actively seeking changes in government policy and our laws.
In 2018/19, the RSPCA Victoria received 69% of its income from donations, so it is heavily dependent on the good will of Victorians to allow their operation to keep going each year. I believe there is a strong feeling of support for the RSPCA in Victoria and in Australia overall. We love our pets and we know that the RSPCA is a trustworthy charity.
I have been fortunate during my life that I have never personally seen examples of animal cruelty or neglect. The RSPCA has made a very strong contribution in Australia to ensure that animal welfare here is generally something we can be proud of.
If you have a question or a comment to make, please leave it in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Or, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. Tell me where you live, a little bit about yourself and what you think of my Slow English podcast. I will write back to you, in English of course. If you would like to take a short quiz to see if you have understood this podcast, you will also find it on my website. Goodbye until next time.
Podcast 119 Quiz - Did you understand the podcast?
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If you got all the questions right, well done! If you got some questions wrong, don’t worry. It’s normal for language learners to take time to develop their understanding.
Question 1 of 10
True or False? – People involved with animals have a responsibility to ensure animal welfare is maintained.Correct
Question 2 of 10
True or False? – Animal welfare does not include making sure animals are healthy.Correct
Question 3 of 10
True or False? – Each state and territory in Australia has animal protection laws.Correct
Question 4 of 10
True or False? – The RSPCA have been appointed as animal welfare inspectors in all states and territories of Australia.Correct
Question 5 of 10
True or False? – Nearly all reports of neglect or cruelty become prosecutions in Victoria.Correct
Question 6 of 10
True or False? – If an animal is found locked in a car on a warm day, the police should be called.Correct
Question 7 of 10
True or False? – If you want to adopt an animal as a pet, you can go to an RSPCA animal centre.Correct
Question 8 of 10
True or False? – The RSPCA has a process to make sure that each adoption is to the right family.Correct
Question 9 of 10
True or False? – The RSPCA in Victoria gets most of its income from its two veterinary clinics.Correct
Question 10 of 10
True or False? – Rob thinks that making a donation to the RSPCA would be a good idea.Correct
abide = to follow, to do as you are told
adoption = (here) when an animal is taken in by a family to live with them
amazing = when people find something hard to believe. When something is very, very good.
appoints = to choose, to give power to
appropriate = correct, right
behaviours = the way things are done
breaching = breaking (the law)
breeders = people who breeds animals
charity = an organisation which helps people or animals in need
checked out = to find out about, to look at
concerned = (here) taking notice of, worried about
contribution = when you do something which is good for others
critical = important
cruelty = the act of hurting someone or an animal without care for the person or animal
dependent = when you need somebody else to help you
distress = to be feeling very bad
domestic = (here) animals that people keep or control
emaciated = very, very thin, so that your bones are showing through your skin
ensure = to make sure something happens
euthanized = when an animal is humanely killed because it is sick or injured and is unable to survive
express = show
factories = (here) places which produce lots and lots of something (too much of it)
fed = to have eaten food
function = role
greyhound = a type of dog used for dog racing
humanely = when something is done in a nice, friendly, gentle way (opposite of cruel)
inspect = to look closely at something
investigate = to find out about something, to research into
involved = when you are part of an activity
issues = a situation that is a problem
maintained = kept at the same level
neglect = when you ignore someone or something, when you don’t look after it
no wonder = as expected
offenders = people who break the law or rules
operates = works, runs, manages
pedigree = of high or pure quality
processes = the steps you take in order to do something
prosecute = to take someone to court for breaking the law
protect = when you keep someone or something safe
range = (here) a variety, a list of things
re-claimed = taken back
regulations = a set of rules
responsibility = when you must do something
seeking = asking for
shelters = places where you can go if you have nowhere to live
situations = how things are, when something is happening
territory = a region which has a name and under the control of a higher government. It may also have its own government
trainers = people who prepare athletes or animals for racing or competing
transport = to move or carry something from one place to another
treated = given care, looked after
unfortunately = when something bad happens
veterinary = to do with the health of animals
welfare = the general health and happiness of a person or animal