Was the Animal Welfare Committee Consulted?

Paul O’Halloran MP
Greens Member for Braddon
Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Tasmanian Greens today said that the Environment Minister Brian Wightman had evaded questions in Parliament today regarding the animal welfare concerns associated with the testing of of super-strength capsicum spray on caged seals.

Greens Member for Braddon Paul O’Halloran MP today called on the Minister to explain what methods has been tested on Australian fur seals as a deterrent, and if their use had been approved by the Animal Welfare Ethics Committee.

“The aquaculture industry does have a significant and ongoing problem with seals that needs to be dealt with, but it can’t be at the expense of sound animal welfare practices,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“It’s unacceptable that the Minister had no knowledge of whether caged seals have in fact been subjected to the potentially excruciating and injurious testing of capsicum spray.”

“Any kind of plan to use methods like capsicum spray or darts should have been referred to the Animal Welfare Ethics Committee, which was set up to look at exactly these kind of issues.”

“Any use of such methods would also need to be closely monitored to ensure that seals are not being subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment, which we believe could be a breach of the Animal Welfare Act.”

“Tasmania is earning a reputation as the national leader on animal welfare, but this would be a big step backwards for a state that prides itself on our treatment of our wildlife.”
Paul O’Halloran MP Greens Member for Braddon Tuesday, 28 August 2012