Wildlife carers and rescuers and local farmers have requested the RSPCA to provide its mobile vet clinic ready to assist the expected influx of injured and suffering animals as soon as people are allowed back into the areas currently affected by the Bunyip fire. Barrie Tapp, Senior Inspector for Animal Cruelty Australia Hotline, says the RSPCA and their mobile vet van are needed now. "We already have reports of animals dead and dying."
There will be a huge number of wildlife, domestic animals, horse and cattle, and other farm animals, in urgent need of medical care as soon as people are allowed back in. Will the RSPCA mobile vet clinic will be ready to assist? The RSPCA mobile vet would be an enormous help to manage the influx of injured and suffering animals requiring treatment. There will be many locals out there doing what we can to help, but there is a need for vets and experienced animal carers also to give professional guidance and provide the more serious medical treatments.
The RSPCA's experienced vets and medical staff will be desperately required to step in promptly and help in the aftermath of these fires. From a PR perspective, the RSPCA providing assistance in these fire ravaged areas would draw positive media attention. But far more importantly, they would be joining forces with other concerned individuals, and providing care to the affected animals who will be in desperate need of our help.
Barry Tapp, Senior Inspector for Animal Cruelty Hotline Australia, says that he sent emails yesterday to Terry Ness, chief inspector and to the Inspectorate RSPCA, and to Liz Walker CEO - but there has been no response! In his experience, the RSPCA did help, once, when he, Tapp and Animal Cruelty Hotline with Hugh Worth (RSPCA), Animal Liberation, Anil rescue Australia and Nigel's animal rescue delivered food and essentials all around.
Local farmers, Anne and David Serato have also sent an email to RSPCA Victoria, stating that they are horse and cattle owners, describing their concern about herds, horses and wildlife. They have requesting the RSPCA mobile vet to assist the wildlife rescuers once the burned areas are open, stating the need for expert back up in the form of RSPCA and skilled wildlife carers.
At around 5.28 pm Victorian time today 4 March 2019, Barrie Tapp received a response from Liz Walker, CEO of RSPCA Victoria. She reported that the RSPCA attended a meeting coordinated by Agriculture Victoria. She wrote,
"The situation remains hazardous and is still unfolding. The Agriculture Victoria Animal Welfare Commander is currently working with the Incident Agency Commander to determine animal welfare impacts and will keep us updated. Agriculture Victoria has confirmed that there is no additional assistance required from private veterinarians, RSCPA Victoria or other jurisdictions at this stage. This may change as information comes in and initial assessment is undertaken to the impacted properties."
She added, "RSPCA Victoria has the Mobile Animal Clinic (MAC) and operational staff on standby if required. At this stage we anticipate that the MAC with vets and Inspectors may need to be deployed later in the week. We may also need to provide shelter capacity to welfare board some companion animals."
To this Barrie Tapp has replied that their mobile clinic should be there NOW. He explains:
"We already have reports of animals suffering and some dead. Obviously there are going to be multiple complex cases, given the size of the bushfire. The mobile vet should be there ASAP so that they will be prepared for the inevitable influx."