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Who pays? The cost of government decisions

By 9 June 2009 57

RSPCA ACT, for the first time ever if I’m not mistaken, was open for extended hours over the long weekend to manage the influx of lost and injured animals as a result of fireworks usage.  Now before you zone out, I’m not raising this in order to debate the banning of fireworks.  I think we have done that one to death.  I am raising it to seek thoughts on the issue of who should pay.  RSPCA ACT responded to need and kept their services available for extended hours at, I assume, their own cost.  The pound also stayed open extended hours, funded by government. 

So who should cover costs like this?  RSPCA ACT only stayed open late to address a need arising from a government decision to allow fireworks.  Should they therefore be able to seek funds from the government for the extra costs? 

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57 Responses to Who pays? The cost of government decisions
#1
jakez9:58 am, 09 Jun 09

Hmm, what should an organisation that boasts about not being Government funded and then takes $200,000 from the Government do?

I guess the premise of your question is whether the Government (and by logical conclusion, the taxpayers of the ACT) has some sort of fiduciary duty to the RSPCA in the situation.

I can’t say how (and this is ignoring my tax hating anarchy loving philosophy) you could find a link. The RSPCA and its supporters felt that it was the right thing to do for their stated mission. That is as it should be and the RSPCA and its supporters should wear the costs for that mission and feel joy joy feelings for it. I would have donated money in times gone by before I realised how authoritarian [expurgated] the organisation and its current head is.

#2
threepaws10:05 am, 09 Jun 09

Last year the pound opened until 10pm. This year they opened from 10am to 2pm on Sunday and Monday (which you may note are not the designated hours for fireworks – makes sense doesn’t it). I guess the RSPCA had no choice but to open seeing as the government pound failed to provide their services to the public.

The RSPCA say that they receive around 10% of their funding from the government. Can you tell me where they boast that they are not government funded or did you make this up?

Perhaps it is you that is dishonest.

#3
Davo11110:14 am, 09 Jun 09

10 points for Jakez – ZING!

#4
weeziepops10:15 am, 09 Jun 09

Wow – harsh words! What’s your beef with RSPCA and its boss?

If the RSPCA didn’t (or couldn’t due to lack of funds) provide this service what would happen to the animals in distress? They might be picked up and left at the pound. They might be left to wander the streets and face any consequences of same. If you look at the human cost (as so many people think this is far more important than the needs of animals), I am betting there would be a lot of hysterical pet owners out there looking for their pet or treating its wounds or burying it. Animals in need increased in number as a direct result of fireworks usage. Should the government fund the service? I think they should.

#5
trevar10:16 am, 09 Jun 09

I think it would make more sense for the RSPCA to close entirely for the old lady’s birthday weekend, or simply tie all the strays up outside the pound (with adequate water and all those basic humane things).

Perhaps they could leave a card, saying this is her birthday present, thus they are now the responsibility of the crown.

#6
jakez10:18 am, 09 Jun 09

threepaws said :

Last year the pound opened until 10pm. This year they opened from 10am to 2pm on Sunday and Monday (which you may note are not the designated hours for fireworks – makes sense doesn’t it). I guess the RSPCA had no choice but to open seeing as the government pound failed to provide their services to the public.

The RSPCA say that they receive around 10% of their funding from the government. Can you tell me where they boast that they are not government funded or did you make this up?

Perhaps it is you that is dishonest.

God that’s a stretch. It was before the election and I’m vaguely thinking either Canberra Times, RiotACT, websitey kind of things. It was to do with an appeal for support. I’ll have a look in the next couple of days but I’m not sure I’ll be able to find something.

If my original statement implied a continual boast that is not what I meant. I doubt I’ll be able to find it so I’m happy to retract the claim right now although I wasn’t making it up.

It was not what I was referring to when I mentioned dishonesty. That was a private communication.

#7
jakez10:22 am, 09 Jun 09

weeziepops said :

Wow – harsh words! What’s your beef with RSPCA and its boss?

If the RSPCA didn’t (or couldn’t due to lack of funds) provide this service what would happen to the animals in distress? They might be picked up and left at the pound. They might be left to wander the streets and face any consequences of same. If you look at the human cost (as so many people think this is far more important than the needs of animals), I am betting there would be a lot of hysterical pet owners out there looking for their pet or treating its wounds or burying it. Animals in need increased in number as a direct result of fireworks usage. Should the government fund the service? I think they should.

I applaud that aspect of their service weeziepops.

When I lost my dog, I didn’t put a gun to the heads of the citizenry of Canberra and ‘politely ask them’ to fund my search and rescue. I expect the same level of courtesy. ps, using the la cosa nostra as an intermediary does not count as the same level of courtesy.

#8
weeziepops10:29 am, 09 Jun 09

You applaud that aspect of their service but don’t think it should be government funded?

What did you do when you lost your dog? Call the RSPCA perchance?

#9
jakez10:37 am, 09 Jun 09

No I don’t think it should be Government funded. I think things should be funded without the use of force. Just because something is ‘good’ doesn’t mean it should be funded through coercion.

I did call the RSPCA. I also use Government roads. I have my beliefs but I do not live in that world. In this world I must make compromises. An organisation that is only f10% funded by a Government is actually pretty good…sadly enough.

It is not their acceptance of taxpayer funding that makes me not like them. I apologise if that is the impression I have given.

#10
PM10:43 am, 09 Jun 09

How about RSPCA save all that hard earned money and put it to other uses over the duration of the entire year? They could do it if a) pet owners who mistreat animals are charged and b) pet owners lock their animals up over the long weekend.

#11
threeze10:43 am, 09 Jun 09

Getting back on-topic, maybe the people who sell fireworks could set up a voluntary donation scheme so that the RSPCA can cover any extended and unexpected costs over the long-weekend?

#12
threepaws10:43 am, 09 Jun 09

I think what weeziepops is saying is that the RSPCA does not exist to supplement the work that the government pound should be doing. Why does an animal welfare charity have to do this work with stray animals?

Maybe the government can increase the funding for the pound, and take some of the strain off the RSPCA. Would this be more acceptable?

#13
jakez10:47 am, 09 Jun 09

threepaws said :

I think what weeziepops is saying is that the RSPCA does not exist to supplement the work that the government pound should be doing. Why does an animal welfare charity have to do this work with stray animals?

Maybe the government can increase the funding for the pound, and take some of the strain off the RSPCA. Would this be more acceptable?

It doesn’t have to do that work, and nobody is forcing it to. It freely chose to open because it felt it was the right thing to do and it was in accordance with its organisation mission. Good on them.

Your alternative is less acceptable. The RSPCA (ignoring the 10% Govt funding) is voluntarily supported and does this part of its work without the use of coercion. The Government pound is entirely funded through coercive means.

#14
frontrow10:58 am, 09 Jun 09

I missed the memo. When did we change from governments that banned things as an exception from the norm to governments that allow things as an exception to the norm. Is this something to do with Ivan Canberrovitch?

#15
mutley11:00 am, 09 Jun 09

Maybe the people who didn’t look after their pets properly could fund the extra hours required to pick up and look after them?

#16
chewy1411:07 am, 09 Jun 09

mutley said :

Maybe the people who didn’t look after their pets properly could fund the extra hours required to pick up and look after them?

Yes, if your dog is properly locked up in your secure yard, the RSPCA would have very little extra to do on the long weekend.

#17
threepaws11:27 am, 09 Jun 09

You can secure a yard 363 days a year but the fireworks weekend is a whole new ball game. Unfortunately, pet owners don’t seem to realise what their animals are capable of when they are terrified.

#18
weeziepops11:29 am, 09 Jun 09

Does anyone really think fireworks will not be let off again until the next sanctioned period? People may plan for the Queen’s B’day weekend and keep their pets inside, but what about all the other times?

#19
ant11:31 am, 09 Jun 09

If people looked after their animals properly, we wouldn’t need the RSPCA. They are there to pick up after failed pet owners every day of the year, not just on cracker night. It’s a necessary service which the government does not fully provide, so some government support seems sensible as for them to provide this service would be more expensive.

Teh question of event-holders contributing to public costs resulting from those events is interesting, especially in today’s climate of “user pays”.

#20
Primal12:01 pm, 09 Jun 09

What sort of taxes do we have on fireworks at the moment? Perhaps we should bung another one on there and split the proceeds between the pound, the fireys and some nice public artwork.

#21
monomania12:18 pm, 09 Jun 09

jakez said :

No I don’t think it should be Government funded. I think things should be funded without the use of force. Just because something is ‘good’ doesn’t mean it should be funded through coercion.

Do you regard the raising of funds through taxes as coercion or does this only apply to a list of things that you believe should be done by government and are currently being carried out by the non government sector? Other people have a different list of what is appropriate for support.

Governments support all tax deductible organisations by forgoing some of the tax of the donors and a lot of others carrying out valuable work in the community rely on direct grants because their donor base is not large enough for the tasks they undertake and also so must rely on a large amount of voluntary labour.

It is not much use talking about user pays because almost all the animals assisted by animal welfare organisations can’t pay.

#22
S4anta1:26 pm, 09 Jun 09

The RSPCA can a take a hit for this one. With all due respect to them, there are far more needing NGO’s who deal far more vexing issues, who are forced to man the coal face of their respective issue during times of urgent need and rarely get the sufficient funding to do this.

And thats even before you look at the simple fact they are animals. It sounds harsh, but lets not forget what they are. Since Grug the cave man taught the wolf to bark rather than howl, and the oxen to stay near the camp fire at night so he didn’t have to battle the mammoth and other random mega fauna for a feed these animals were here to perform a role in our society. If we are to include and respect them in our laws and their place with us in the civilised era, their rightful and proper place needs to be considered.

#23
weeziepops1:31 pm, 09 Jun 09

If we were talking about even one child being maimed or killed, fireworks would be banned tomorrow regardless of whether the child’s parents had provided a safe environment.

“Far more needing” NGOs and the “rightful and proper place” of animals – these are both subjective issues. Clearly you and I differ greatly in this regard.

#24
threepaws1:43 pm, 09 Jun 09

65% of Canberran’s own a pet. All of the animals that go to the RSPCA have come from someone, and go to someone, so obviously they don’t just deal with animals.

I think what you said is harsh. Their ‘rightful and proper’ place in society is not decided by them, as they cannot speak for themselves. It is a shame that charities like the RSPCA have to exist at all.

I think you will find thatmost of the ‘more deserving’ human based NGO’s receive federal funding as well, unlike the RSPCA.

#25
Duke1:47 pm, 09 Jun 09

weeziepops said :

If we were talking about even one child being maimed or killed, fireworks would be banned tomorrow regardless of whether the child’s parents had provided a safe environment.

“Far more needing” NGOs and the “rightful and proper place” of animals – these are both subjective issues. Clearly you and I differ greatly in this regard.

Let’s not go there weezie. How many children and adults are maimed or killed by dogs every each year? Are you suggesting we ban dogs too?

#26
S4anta1:50 pm, 09 Jun 09

weeziepops said :

If we were talking about even one child being maimed or killed, fireworks would be banned tomorrow regardless of whether the child’s parents had provided a safe environment.

“Far more needing” NGOs and the “rightful and proper place” of animals – these are both subjective issues. Clearly you and I differ greatly in this regard.

Well perhaps you ought start thinking about the homeless, at risk and sick children before hammering on about the rights of animals. They do deserve a voice, but in moderation and not the expense of a large proprtion of the taxing paying public on this issue.

For the record, I think you and I do differ slightly but not that much, in regards to those subjective defintions.

#27
S4anta1:51 pm, 09 Jun 09

threepaws said :

I think what you said is harsh. Their ‘rightful and proper’ place in society is not decided by them, as they cannot speak for themselves. It is a shame that charities like the RSPCA have to exist at all.

S4anta said :

Where would their rightful place be prior to domestication, in a backyard?

#28
peterh2:00 pm, 09 Jun 09

S4anta said :

threepaws said :

I think what you said is harsh. Their ‘rightful and proper’ place in society is not decided by them, as they cannot speak for themselves. It is a shame that charities like the RSPCA have to exist at all.

peterh said :

Where would their rightful place be prior to domestication, in a backyard?

I would have thought hunting in packs, killing humans…

#29
threepaws2:06 pm, 09 Jun 09

Duke said :

weeziepops said :

If we were talking about even one child being maimed or killed, fireworks would be banned tomorrow regardless of whether the child’s parents had provided a safe environment.

“Far more needing” NGOs and the “rightful and proper place” of animals – these are both subjective issues. Clearly you and I differ greatly in this regard.

Let’s not go there weezie. How many children and adults are maimed or killed by dogs every each year? Are you suggesting we ban dogs too?

Dogs that kill or maim people are then killed themselves by relevant authorities, so let’s not go there either.

#30
threepaws2:09 pm, 09 Jun 09

peterh said :

S4anta said :

threepaws said :

I think what you said is harsh. Their ‘rightful and proper’ place in society is not decided by them, as they cannot speak for themselves. It is a shame that charities like the RSPCA have to exist at all.

threepaws said :

Where would their rightful place be prior to domestication, in a backyard?

I would have thought hunting in packs, killing humans…

And then we would be baiting or shooting the said wild dogs to protect humans and their stock. Oh, hang on…. we already do that

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