Briefing from RSPCA Australia; 16th August 2011
The puppy farm campaign continues and is clearly having an impact on governments and policy makers with a number of positive steps taking place since we last contacted you. Please find a summary of these initiatives below.
- The Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) is planning a Code of Practice for the breeding of dogs.
- From the 1st July 2011 it became mandatory to microchip dogs from 6 months of age. While this is a positive step in the right direction, we hope future amendments will ensure pups are legally required to be microchipped by the breeder prior to sale or transfer with the breeder’s details recorded on the microchip register database.
- The Domestic Animals Act has been reviewed and included stakeholder consultation.
- The new Victorian government have advised they are committed to legislative change for the Spring session.
- The government has given increased powers to the RSPCA Inspectorate to enforce the Domestic Animals Act which was previously only enforceable by local government officers. Inability to enforce the DAA was previously a major constraint for the RSPCA Victoria Inspectorate when trying to protect animal welfare. When a cruelty complaint is investigated and breaches of the Domestic Animals Act are in evidence, Inspectors now have the powers to act outside of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA).
- The number of pledges for support of the Close Puppy Factories campaign can be found here: http://www.rspcavic.org/campaigns_news/campaigns_puppy_farming.htm.
- The RSPCA have introduced PROVE IT stickers to encourage pet shops to prove that they do not source their puppies from puppy farms.
- The second phase of the campaign will be in Nov/Dec 2011 focusing on the channels through which puppy farms sell their puppies – online, print media and pet shops to increase public awareness.
- The Code of Practice for the Care and Management of Animals in the Pet Trade has been reviewed and included a public consultation phase. We are currently awaiting the final draft of the Code to be released by the South Australian government.
New South Wales
- RSPCA NSW advise that while NSW have the Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Breeding Dogs and Cats and the Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Animals in Pet Shops which contain enforceable standards, the difficulty is that with no central register of breeders, the RSPCA may not know where some of these breeding facilities are and therefore we may not be sure that the animals are being kept in accordance with the Breeding Dog and Cat Standards.
- One way of addressing this problem would be the establishment of a central register of breeders and the necessity for a breeder prefix and microchip number to be included in any advertisement and provided at any sale or transfer of an animal.
Australian Capital Territory
- No regulatory changes have occurred as yet, however, there has been some positive movement. A Discussion paper “The Breeding and Sale of Companion Animals in the ACT” was released in September 2010. The purpose of this community discussion paper was to gauge the level of community concern and to facilitate the communities’ views in planning the ACT ‘s first enforceable COP under the Animal Welfare Act 1992. Recent changes to the ACT Animal Welfare Act 1992 allow the inclusion of mandatory enforceable components with approved codes of practices related to animal welfare. We are currently awaiting release by the ACT government.
- The QLD government proposed a Breeder ID system in 2010 which is still under development.
The scheme will include:
– assigning each breeder their own ID
– compulsory microchipping of breeding bitches
– requiring breeder ID numbers to be displayed at points of sale or in advertising
– requiring that the ID of the breeding bitch is included as part of the microchip information on all her puppies
– development of Dog Breeder Standards under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001
The Gold Coast Breeder Permit System was also introduced as a pilot study and is ongoing (for more information please contact the AWL of QLD).
- No significant changes apart from the fact that a greater number of councils have made microchipping mandatory for dogs over 6 months of age.
- There is no Domestic Animals Act in the NT, there are local by-laws.
- No significant changes.
Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
- As mentioned previously, the ANKC has moved to make microchipping compulsory for all registered pedigree dogs across Australia. Microchipping must now be done before registration of a puppy. This will be enforced in all states and territories from 1st January 2012. This is a great step forward to enable positive identification of pedigree dogs and to help drive regulatory change towards compulsory microchipping for all puppies by their breeders.
While these positive steps are encouraging, much more action is needed to end puppy farming in Australia. We would greatly appreciate your organisation’s advocacy to all State and Territory Governments in relation to the principles in the Way Forward document. In particular, calling for compulsory microchipping by the breeder prior to sale or transfer and a breeder ID system for those states yet to introduce these critical requirements.
Urgent action is also needed to address inadequate export requirements and the national co-ordination of state efforts to allow for breeder traceability across state/territory borders.
There is no doubt that current regulations and their enforcement need to be strengthened across Australia. However, a holistic approach is needed to successfully bring an end to puppy farming incorporating both regulatory reform and public awareness and education initiatives. The RSPCA continues to distribute the RSPCA Smart Puppy Buyer’s Guide to help raise community awareness and enable prospective puppy buyers to screen breeders effectively to find a responsible breeder (for any type/breed of dog).
The RSPCA will continue to communicate the key principles in the The Way Forward document to key stakeholders including industry, breeders, governments and policymakers at every available opportunity. In addition, the Close Puppy Factories campaign continues with strong and growing support from the community.
We hope that these initiatives will encourage you and your organisations to continue campaigning to bring an end to puppy farming in Australia.”
The RSPCA Australia, initiated we understand by RSPCA Victoria, are to be congratulated for their efforts and progress on this campaign. But more remains to be done.
The AAPDB, a well known group promoting puppy farming and sales of animals to pet shops had this to say:
On behalf of the AAPDB I would like to express concern regarding one aspect of the Victorian response: I am concerned about the “PROVE IT” stickers which the Victorian RSPCA is encouraging people to apply to pet store windows. Indeed I am surprised that encouraging such action is legal.
“There are many sound business reasons why a pet store proprietor would want to keep the name of his suppliers private and there are, in the current atmosphere, many good reasons why good, responsible breeders supplying stores would want their privacy respected. “
Many sound reasons? Really
In reply to the above comment by AAPDB, we were told by a person intimate with the Puppy Farm campiagn :
“Rutland Manor a well known puppy factory in Victoria promotes and carries out back to back breeding ( a clear violation to the mandatory code of practice), sends their dogs to NSW to be debarked and breeds their dogs until they cannot breed anymore.
Billabong Creek puppy factory kills their dogs when they are finished with them, one dog rescued from this factory had to have both eyes removed due to a painful condition , glaucoma. Billabong failed to provide vet treatment for this dog and continued to breed from her.
Murray River Puppy farm has a similar history, breeding their 200 dogs until they simply cannot breed any longer.
All of the above are members of the AAPDB.”