The duplicity and contempt that Dogs NSW has for the NSW CA Taskforce (…of which it is a member)

Dogs NSW are a member of the NSW Companion Animal Taskforce which recently made it’s final recommendations to the Ministers Page and Hodgkinson. Having made its recommendations, Dogs NSW has immediately set about calling its members to OPPOSE the very same recommendations that it made. This is the call to action letter that Dogs NSW president TOM COUCHMAN has sent out to members. READ MORE HERE

How Dogs NSW fight changes to limit breeding

Steering Committee appointed for Companion Animals Taskforce

April 2013

Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Directors of Dogs NSW, supported by input from a large number of ordinary Members who attended an Open Meeting held in conjunction, appointed a Steering Committee to lead the membership through the consultation period made available by the relevant Ministers of the NSW Government for responses to the Companion Animals Taskforce Report released on 26 March 2013.

This is arguably the most critical period in the sixty odd year history of our organisation and its predecessors. For the first time ever, an attempt is being made to legislate our activities as “hobby breeders and show & trial exhibitors” into the same category as “large scale pet shop breeders” and “puppy farmers”.

The uniqueness of our organisation seems to have been sadly ignored by the Taskforce. The things that make Dogs NSW different, will need to be emphasised in our final response.One outcome of Wednesday’s meetings was clear recognition that as many Members as possible should make an appointment with their local member and speak with them with a message from the heart about what your hobby means to you and how you perceive the oppressive additional tier of licensing and asso ciated regulation will affect your future in the hobby.

You should also directly request that your Member represent your views when he casts his vote in relation to any proposed legislative change which evolves from the Taskforce Report.
We also encourage you to put your thoughts into writing and convey them to each of your local Member as well as the two relevant Ministers, Hodgkinson and Page.
To assist you, we provide the following contact details and links to assist in identifying your local Member.
Further assistance will be added as it is collated and added by the Steering Committee who will meet for the first time on Monday 15 April 2013.
Tom Couchman
President Dogs NSW

Update on proposal for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare

Following my questions asking for a progress update:

From office of Kelvin Thomas:

“Thanks for your email seeking an update on the proposed Independent Office of Animal Welfare.

The Live Animal Export Working Group has developed a model for the establishment of such an office, and has presented it to the Government and the Parliamentary Labor Party for consideration. That consideration is now happening.”

From Melissa Parke:

“Thanks very much for your email – and I really appreciate your expression of support.

 The framework for the establishment of the Independent Office of Animal Welfare has been forwarded by the Caucus for consideration by the Minister’s office, and I hope will soon result in the legislation required to put the IOAW in place.  I am sure you appreciate that it is a necessary reform, and one that is not before its time. READ MORE HERE

How to temp test into the kill zone – an article by Kirsty Seksel

Veterinary behaviourist Kirsty Seksel says : “the sad reality is that many of the dogs relinquished to these groups (Rescue Groups) are not suitable for rehoming and should be euthenased in the interest of the long term welfare of the dog. Unfortunately there is little if no expertise in many of these groups to assess the suitability of these dogs for rehoming purposes”

Download  and read this article here , just copy link into your browser

Ms Seksel is CEO of ACAC ( Australian Companion Animal Council)

DRP Comment:

This is an important article to read and understand. Kirsty Seksel is the CEO of ACAC – an industry lobby group that has manoeuvred itself into  positions of giving governments advice on dog and cat matters. She is a member of the current NSW Companion Animal Taskforce, which has recently taken 2 years to come up with some recommendations to NSW Ministers. I won’t comment on the Taskforce recommendations here, other than to say that of course, ………….no commercial vested interests will be unduly inconvenienced if the proposals are accepted.

A worrying development is that this “expert” has recently appeared at Blacktown Pound to give “advice” to management., The result was that 5 dogs earmarked to go to Rescue Groups were summarily executed.

Open question to Kirsty Seksel : “Ms Seksel, what exactly have you, or your commercial entities,  done in the past to increase rehoming rates from pounds/shelters?”

If you want to know more about ACAC, just use the search facility on the home page.

Submissions urgently required for SA govt select commitee review into cats and dogs as companion animals.

URGENT PLEASE”. The 2013 Review of Dogs and Cats as Companion Animals by the SA Government will be closed for public submissions on 16th January.


The House of Assembly of the Parliament of South Australia has
established a Select Committee to investigate and report upon the
legislative and regulatory management of the trade in companion
dogs and cats, with the goals of the elimination of cruelty and the
reduction of the numbers of unwanted animals being euthanized,
and in particular consider –
(a) options for the regulation of welfare standards for
breeding companion dogs and cats;
(b) the adequacy of regulation of the source of companion
dogs and cats for sale;
(c) the feasibility of a mandatory cooling off period between
registering intent to purchase a companion dog or cat
and taking possession of the animal;
(d) the adequacy of the regulation of non-retail-shop trade in
companion dogs and cats;
(e) how the registration, micro chipping and desexing of
companion dogs and cats might address these goals; and
(f) any other relevant matters.
Submissions, in writing, are invited and should be received no
later than 16 January 2013. The link for you to get the documents you need is :

A very kind person who has asked to remain anonymous, has sent me their draft document as a basis of submission. I have taken this and added my own recommendations and ideas. You can download this document and use it as you wish if it helps you create your own submission.

The link is

Why animal welfare in Australia is such a mess and the need for an Independent Office of Animal Welfare

Dec 1 2012

Have you ever wondered why animal welfare in Australia is in such a mess? 

At last, someone with expert knowledge, has written  a Paper (download below)  that explains in detail all the angles in the twisted mess that is Australian Animal Welfare. The Paper explains the history, the players ( = uncoordinated government departments and commercial  industry vested interests), the structure, the processes….and why in its current form it will never work……. (was it ever intended to?)

The author recommends the creation of an Independent Office of Animal Welfare, completely separate to the current structures, together with the legal processes that would be required to create this entity.

It’s a long document, so I have extracted sections to create a “summary” for you; you can download the entire document at the end of the summary.

The author is Jed Goodfellow:  PhD candidate within the Legal Governance Concentration of Research Excellence, Macquarie University Law School, and part-time policy officer for RSPCA Australia.  Jed was previously Legal Council for RSPCA South Australia.

Please note that the document attached is a draft version.

Summary (by Deathrowpets, extracted text from the Paper)

“This paper reviews the arrangements for animal welfare regulation in Australia with a view to identifying the problems associated with the current regulatory framework. 

A number of governance and procedural problems are identified.  The primary flaw suggested  concerns the subordination of the regulatory framework to governmental institutions which possess a fundamental conflict of interest.

The paper argues that this conflict of interest forms the catalyst for a chain of subsequent problems including, industry domination of the standard-setting processes, industry control over the development of animal welfare science, the disparity between animal welfare policy and law, and unnecessary complexities and inefficiencies in the use of available resources.

 It is argued that these problems lead to a system of governance and regulation that lacks legitimacy, in which structures and processes breach fundamental principles of procedural fairness and equality in democratic participation.  

In turn, these deficiencies prevent government from serving the public interest in delivering adequate animal welfare outcomes such as sustained improvements in animal welfare standards.  The paper also finds that the current framework is failing to serve the interests of industry. By insulating industry from objective scrutiny and allowing the status quo to continue despite community expectations moving forward, a growing disconnect between public expectations and industry practices emerges.

 No existing government department deals completely with the wide-ranging suite of matters which concern issues of animal welfare.

Currently, different government departments will be involved to varying degrees in specific animal welfare issues which are incidentally relevant to their core areas of responsibility.

The welfare of animals used in research for instance falls under the responsibility of the National Health and Medical Research Council (from a standard-setting perspective). The treatment of wild animals subject to culls will generally fall under the responsibility of state departments of environment, and may also be subject to Commonwealth oversight if such culls form part of a wildlife trade management plan.  State departments responsible for sport and racing will generally have involvement in welfare standards for race horses and greyhounds. The overarching and residual responsibility for the animal welfare, however (including of course farm animal welfare), belongs to SCoPI and the departments of agriculture. 

This fragmented approach to animal welfare may provide one explanation for the significant inconsistencies in the levels of protection afforded to different species of animals, or even the same species of animals but in different contexts of use.

 The current arrangements for animal welfare regulation do not represent an efficient and effective use of public funds.

The current arrangements result in unnecessary complexity and duplication resulting in an inefficient use of available resources. The current arrangements  fail to serve the public interest in delivering independent and objective animal welfare science, and substantive laws which reflect government policy and community expectations.

The multidisciplinary nature and complexities of animal welfare policy, and its wide-ranging application to a large variety of circumstances that cut across multiple departmental jurisdictions calls for the establishment of a dedicated office of animal welfare.

The proposed Office will represent a more efficient and effective use of public funds. 

The only option for addressing the fundamental conflict of interest is to remove the responsibility for animal welfare regulation from the remit of SCoPI  (=COAG Standing Council of Primary Industries) and the departments of agriculture. 

Agricultural ministers and their associated departments perform an important role in serving the agricultural sector and rural communities. Promoting productive and profitable primary industries is a fundamental component of this service.  This of course should not change.  The reality, however, is that this objective conflicts with the objective of promoting and protecting animal welfare, particularly in relation to farm animals. “

Download Paper here…   This version with highlighted text and notes by Deathrowpets

Download Paper here…   This version,  as original received

( patient in downloading , as may take a few minutes)

Further notes; on page 5 of the Paper, the author lists the current members of the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. This committee overseas the implementation of the Aus Animal Welfare Strategy (which seemingly doesn’t work anyway…). From their website, here are some notes on who these people are:

Download notes on AWAC membership here….

Call me cynical, but you will see that about half are vets ( commercial vested interests?  Nah…) and the other half farmers (commercial vested interests?? Nah again) . Read the notes and draw your own conclusions…….

How pet industry PR and influencing works

Before you read this, just tuck away in your mind the fact that Colgate is the owner of  Hills Pet Nutrition – then this post will make more sense.

Yesterday I spotted this interesting and readable piece in our local Hobart newspaper:

Now I would be the first to agree that “68% of Tasmanians living with pets believe they are important contributors to their happiness”…… they most certainly are to us! No argument!

So I did a bit of a search….and found the exact same article, carefully orientated to the local area, in another 5 newspapers and magazines, Victoria, NSW, Queensland, and even a parenting magazine, all proclaiming that “68%, or 70% or 80% “of us are happier with pets etc. I’m sure I could find them in a lot more places if I look.

Here are a few of them ( you don’t need to read them all, trust me, they all say the same thing and point you to Colgate’s wonderful competition…): READ MORE HERE

Study: Dogs who guarded food bowls in shelter did not continue behavior in homes

News from Maddies Institute, 30/08/12

A study published in the journal Animals found that dogs who guarded food bowls while in the shelter did not continue this behavior in their adoptive homes, even when their new owners didn’t comply with all elements of a rehabilitation plan. Additionally, these dogs had nearly half the return-to-shelter rate of shelter dogs in general.

Published on August 12, 2012, its authors Heather Mohan-Gibbons, Emily Weiss, and Margaret Slater reported that food bowl guarding is one of the most common reasons for shelter euthanasia, and only 34% of shelters attempted to modify the behavior.  READ MORE HERE

RSPCA NSW – working with rescue groups or not???

a) Steve Coleman, RSPCA NSW CEO, SMH,  RSPCA criticised.…9/10/12: “…….. rejected claims the RSPCA was unwilling to collaborate with other animal welfare organisations, adding that “discussions have been undertaken, and continue to be undertaken, with a number of community-based rescue groups”.

b) Letter sent to a NSW Member of Parliament

“I belong to a group of volunteers who rescue Alaskan Malamutes in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. We also assist in rehoming Australia wide. We are a deductible gift recipient with charity status, have public liability insurance, and all have our own malamutes or facebook – Alaskan malamute Rehoming Aid. We have rescued over 100 Alaskan Malamutes in the last 2 ½ years in NSW alone of which 99% have been successfully rehomed.

Only one dog has been euthenased due to temperament issues and only one has not been rescued from the pound, due to issues with temperament. Otherwise we have taken all the dogs that we have been aware of in pounds – so we do not pick and choose. We enjoy a good relationship with the Animal Welfare League and many of the pounds around NSW. Our relationship with the RSPCA has been variable.

I am aware of their constraints as a large organisation, however, as a group that has animal advocacy as part of their mission statement, it is distressing that the Rutherford shelter in Newcastle has lacked any desire to allow breed specific rescue to rescue dogs. We are not the only group to find this. (DRP in bold highlight) READ MORE HERE

Excellent thought piece from Rescued with Love…

re SBS Insight program , 25 th September

A lot thought Insight lacked impact, wanting a serious stoush between large orgs, puppy farmers and animal rights. It would have made great viewing I’m sure.
The topic was about the question “Is there an overpopulation of pets?”

According to Matt Hams the puppy farmer – the market is there, selling 30-40 puppies a week. This is an issue Oscar’s Law have brought to the attention of Australians – and their fight is going to be a long and dirty one. While there is a buck to be made from selling a puppy, and a place to market them – there will always be those who will run these places.