Press release: The formation of the COMPANION ANIMAL ACTION GROUP WESTERN AUSTRALIA (CAAGWA); Mon, 19 Apr 2010
“Dear fellow Companion Animal Carers
We are writing to you out of our deep concern for the growing crisis of unwanted pets in Western Australia. We are a nation of cat and dog lovers and yet we have a national annual figure of 250,000 euthanized pets. Clearly this is unacceptable and we would like to take action to address this appalling statistic.
Like you, we are witness to the trauma of discarded animals being passed from pound to rescue facility and many not even given this opportunity due to insufficient capacity and under-resourcing of pounds and shelters. Rescued dogs and cats spend varying lengths of time incarcerated through no fault of their own. The lucky ones find loving forever homes but so many, don’t. Rescue facilities do their best to care for these animals and in most cases, are reliant on public support – not only for funding, but for care of the animals. We would like to assist these facilities as part of our addressing the root causes of the problem of unwanted pets.
The COMPANION ANIMAL ACTION GROUP WESTERN AUSTRALIA (CAAGWA) is the name we have chosen to undertake coverage of the multitude of issues we would like to address over a period of time. Our immediate aim is to form a Committee of compassionate carers representing a variety of organisations throughout Western Australia. We would welcome participation at Committee level but also like-minded individuals to assist with a number of different projects pertaining to our goals.
The major areas that we intend to focus on are as follows:
- Lobbying for banning of the sale of pets from pet shops. The oversupply of puppies and kittens for the pet industry needs to be regulated to help address the problem of impulse purchases from pet shops. Impulse buying creates a demand that is often met by unscrupulous breeding practices, including backyard breeders and “pet mills” where cats and dogs are kept in appalling conditions and continuously bred. We would like to acknowledge that some pets stores do not sell pets – sadly these are in the minority. We would like to support these stores. At the time of writing, we are only aware of one such store in Western Australia – ‘Zoo Products’ in Claremont. There are larger franchise operations such as Better Pets and Gardens (some stores do however sell rabbits, guinea pigs and the like) and City Farmers who don’t sell puppies or kittens. There are a few pet stores attempting to do the right thing by homing discarded animals, and we would also like to support these stores. The majority of pet stores however, profiteer from the sale of cute puppies and kittens, with little consideration given to the inhumane origins of these animals, and certainly no concern for the welfare of the animal once on-sold.
- Promoting adoption of pets from rescue facilities – Animal shelters have a great selection of cats and dogs for adoption, and many of them also have kittens, puppies and purebred animals. Promotion of pounds and shelters as sources of purchase of companion animals is vital – ‘Adopt . . . don’t Shop”
- Exposing puppy mills/illicit breeders – The public is for the most part, oblivious to the existence of puppy mills and illicit breeders. We would like to initiate a public awareness campaign aimed at shedding light on certain aspects of the pet industry that we believe, need to be addressed, improved or abolished all together. We hope to make the pet buying public aware of their responsibility for the way in which companion animals are bred and sold, and of their ability to change it. Pet Shops, markets, internet sites and print media are the main outlets for mass breeding facilities and backyard breeders.
- Educating the public on responsible pet ownership – We would like to empower consumers by making them more aware of the responsibilities and the costs involved in the ongoing care of an animal. Sharing your life with a companion animal can bring incredible rewards, but only if you’re willing to make the necessary commitments of time, money, responsibility, and love – for the life of the pet.
- Lobbying for compulsory sterilisation of companion animals – In addition to reducing pet overpopulation, there are numerous other benefits associated with desexing of cats and dogs (Seehttp://www.ndn.org.au/benefits-of-desexing.html) Formulating Petitions to create awareness of the above mentioned issues – Petitions are useful tools to garner support and raise awareness of the issues.
- Applying under the Freedom of Information Act for numbers of cats/dogs euthanized in WA – Figures for the number of animals euthanized state-wide are currently not public knowledge. We would like to obtain this information to utilise as part of our Campaign.
Consumers have the power to change market practice. We need to encourage wise choices when considering the purchase of a companion animal. Decisions of where to purchase pets and pet products will have direct and far-reaching effects on the welfare of animals, how they are treated, and how many are put to death needlessly.
The challenges we face are great. But to do nothing, to remain silent, is to sanction the status quo. We would like to invite representation from your organisation to be an ambassador for change. Please reply by return email your expression of interest, and advise if any other individuals would be interested to help this worthy cause in whatever capacity they feel is appropriate. ”
Fantastic action by a commited group of concerned people! How about someone starting a group in SA??
Actions you can take:
If you live in WA and would like more information: firstname.lastname@example.org is where to go.