News from NSW – where to now? We have lost a battle, but we have not lost the war! Part 1

As soon as the Bill was defeated, the Pet Industry News (PIN) Editor and Director of PIAA, Bob Croucher (PIN Head) wrote:

“The Pet Industry Association has worked from day one opposing these Bills, in conjunction with AVA, Dogs NSW and other groups that were going to be affected by this Bill. Meetings were held with Clover Moore , Minister Mr Ian McDonald and other members of Parliament. Clover Moore was not interested in listening to the industry even when the facts were pointed out to her.  She was clearly driven by the animal liberation groups and not by the welfare interests of the animals. Mr McDonald and his advisors however did listen to what PIA and the AVA had to say when shown that working with the industry would achieve better results than cutting the industry off altogether.

The Government was already working on a Code of Practice for the Pet Industry which has since been implemented. Pet Shops have been micro chipping dogs and cats for many years. The NSW Government is to be congratulated on their decision and it is hoped that this will be the end of what has been a long two years of dark cloud hanging over the lives of those within the Pet Industry.”

This is the message to Mr Croucher and his mates at PIAA: “sorry, Bob, it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning.”

It is critical that those wanting to stop the killing of over 60,000 healthy animals in NSW now to use this Bill campaign as a platform to take this to the next level.

Clover Moore said:

“I say to all those who worked hard to gather support for the bill: Do not be disheartened.

 We have achieved much.

 Since introducing the bill, problems with the pet industry have been reported on the Sunday Program, Stateline, 9am With David and Kim, and in almost every State and local newspaper in New South Wales.

 More people now know about puppy farms, backyard breeders, and the appalling number of cats and dogs that are destroyed every year in this State compared with previously.

 I am certain that many members of this House never thought about this issue before I introduced my bill. I noted that speakers in this debate gave anecdotes about their pets. It is a pity they do not have a greater conscience about the good of animals across the State.

I have received thousands of letters and emails on the issue, and I have been encouraged by the many communities that care about the plight of animals. Indeed, I understand that the bill was studied in a university animal law course. I remain committed to raising this issue in the Parliament in the future. I encourage everyone to continue to inform their friends, family and colleagues about the problems with the pet industry, and to continue to write to their elected representatives in this House to protect animals.
 
I will conclude with the words that I have spoken in this House before regarding this issue. I quote Mahatma Gandhi, who said:

 “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.

The world’s great thinkers have long understood that social progress can be seen in the way a society treats its animals. Animals cannot speak; they cannot vote.

 I think we have a comment today in this place about how this Parliament treats its animals, and it is a real comment on our society.

 It is a comment I really regret, and a comment I will work to change.”

DRP Comment: Let’s take heart from Ms Moore’s words here. We always knew that the Government were opposed to meaningful change in the pet industry.But the Bill campaign has created a level of discussion, awareness and debate unprecedented in NSW companion animal history. The threat of a bill, and the campaigns around it, to those who don’t want change, is a wonderful tool.

We now know who the opponents to change are – they have stuck their heads out of the trenches and shown their true colours. We know what their tactics and objectiions are, and we understand why the Labor Governement aren’t interested in meaningful change. We have learnt much.The thousands of people who really care about the numbers of healthy animals un-necessarily killed in pounds and shelters have risen to the challenge and made their statements of support crystal clear.

And finally, the RSPCA NSW, and AWL NSW, were notable in their absence to supporting Clover Moore’s Bill and much needed change. Why? We throw the opportunity to Steve Coleman RSPCA NSW CEO and AWL CEO Maryanne Dalton to provide an answer to that question. If you are member sof RSPCA or AWL NSW, or send your charity dollars, you should ask that question.

There are important things we need to do now.

It is critical that the animals in  NSW, (and each of the other States?) get a public and open parliamentary Inquiry into companion animal welfare as an eventual outcome. The opponents to change are already trying to head this off by calling for “a scientific study by an independent expert”. ( ie a closed study with no public input, most likely conducted by a sympathetic veterinary scientist  at a University). They have already sent a letter to every Member – you can read this here. Click here…  This must not be allowed to proceed. It will be closed to the public and ensure that vested interests are protected.

 Actions you can take:

1 Write to your opposition Member and ask if they will agree make a firm commitment to undertake  a Parliamentary Inquiry into Companion Animal Welfare in NSW  should they form a government in the next election. Stress the importance of this as a necessity to create the best conditions for an honest assessment of the situation for companion animals.

Ask them to view the letter they were recently sent by the self proclaimed “peak bodies” (hands up all those opposed to change) stating the case for “a scientific study by an independent expert” as nothing more than an attempt to have the vested interests in the pet industry influence and control the outcome. They should ignore this letter from: NSW Veterinary Association, Animal Welfare League NSW, Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, PIIA, Waratah Cat Alliance and Australian National Kennel Council.

Note: we are especially disappointed to see the Animal Welfare League NSW and Sydney Dogs and Cats Home included in this group. Two groups who should know better.

Stress that despite cosmetic efforts by this government to manage via unenforceable Codes of Practice, and their claim that they “really care about animal welfare”, that the numbers of animals entering pounds and shelters in NSW continues to rise and over 60,000 were killed in pounds and shelters last year – an increase over the previous year.

2 Write to your Labor Member stating your disappointment in the way they ignored the arguments raised by the supporters to the bill, and their opposition to an Inquiry.

3 Write to Independent Minister Clover Moore and the Hon. Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) asking them to continue their efforts to create regulation and change in the NSW pet industry. Specifically ask them if they will consider creating a new Bill for  compulsory desexing for all household pet cats and dogs in NSW.

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2 thoughts on “News from NSW – where to now? We have lost a battle, but we have not lost the war! Part 1

  1. Fido's Friend December 3, 2009 / 5:37 pm

    Go Clover! Change is already happening. There are many successful pet shops who don’t sell animals and have been that way for many years now.

    I am confident that the people who only have a vested interest in animals, like the organisations mentioned above, will lose out in the end.

    Once the public are properly informed, which is also happening thanks to media organisations like the Sydney Morning Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Age and the ABC to name a few, pet selling shops, BYB’s and puppy farmers will be a thing of the past.

    Good riddance to people who only want to make money out of animals and have no interest in their welfare.

  2. Isabel fed up December 3, 2009 / 6:35 pm

    Thankyou to all the non hypocrites who are working tirelessly to spread the word about Clover Moore’s bill. I only learnt of the bill’s existence in July. How shameful that most people aren’t aware of it. I blame the media for this. Very few in the media are interested yet Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. I got that statistic from a sickening article in the SMH recently about hotels that cater for pampered dogs and their owners. That in itself is not wrong but it sickens me that we can spend so much money on stuff that our pets don’t even need and turn a blind eye to the plight of those neglected and tortured animals who will never know human kindness.
    I noticed that Clover Moore mentioned that many in parliament told anecdotes about their own pets but didn’t support the bill. I too am baffled. I have had the same experience while handing out DRP flyers and trapping feral cats in my area. Very few people seem compelled to do anything for animals that are not their own but they will go on and on about how much they love animals and how cruel people can be to animals. My question: Aren’t we all cruel if we know of a cruelty being perpetrated yet not feel compelled to do anything about it?

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