“Where is the animal welfare discussion paper promised over one year ago?

November 2011. This matter is of importance to all Australians wanting to stop pound and shelter killing.

Summary: What happens is this: The State  Government – for political and PR reasons – announces it will “taskforce” the subject and announce a public discussion document. Nothing happens. And so the ACT Greens announce their own animal welfare Bill. The ACT Gov. is indignant that the Greens have trumped them. And so they and the opposition, (fuelled by vested interests who don’t want any change) fail to pass the Bill. The Gov. announces it will table its own public discussion paper. Eight months later : nothing has happened. Once again, a Gov and its AWAC dragging the chain. Time to rattle the cage. Actions to take below text. (NB This is happening in NSW as well…..) 

On 23 June 2010, the ACT Legislative Assembly was informed that the ACT Government would “table a discussion paper examining issues involving the breeding and selling of companion animals in the ACT. The discussion paper will consider a range of issues and will invite comment on a range of options to address community concerns. Feedback from this paper will contribute to the development of a mandatory code for the breeding and selling of companion animals in the ACT.”

The statement went on to say that a “number of proposals will be considered in the discussion paper that will provide an ethical and humane framework to guide the breeding and sale of companion animals in the ACT. Proposals will also be considered to develop a process for information sharing that will support greater compliance in respect of desexing and safeguarding the health and wellbeing of companion animals”.

A further announcement in September 2010 indicated that the ACT Government planned to issue the “Discussion Paper on the Breeding and Selling of Companion Animals” on 22 September 2010.

This never happened. The matter became dormant.

Further developments:

  • In April 2011 the ACT Greens announced their own intention to table an Animal Welfare Amendment Bill:

Pet lovers  support Greens Animal  Welfare Bill, April 2011

  • The government immediately responded by attacking the intention of the Greens as political manoeuvring and stated that THEIR discussion paper (…that wasn’t even under way…) was the solution:

Political allies clash on reforms  May 4th 2011

Greens would legislate ahead of consultation May 5th 2011

  • In April, the Greens Animal Welfare Amendment Bill  was defeated by a combined  effort of the Government and the Liberals:

Govt, Libs vote for inaction on animal reforms  May 5th 2011

  • The debate by Government and Liberals, full of spurious and misleading arguments, is recorded by Hansard:

Hansard record – debate Animal Welfare Amendment Bill,  May 2011

  • It is interesting to read how most of the opposition arguments are simply parroting of arguments put by the ACAC (Australian Companion Animal Council )  in their “submission” to the Greens public consultation process in February 2011;

ACAC submission to ACT Greens re Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, Feb 2011

It is now a full year since this ORIGINAL Discussion Paper was to have been released. This makes it a year overdue and a year is an inordinately long time for any Discussion Paper to be held up. ( How many animals have suffered as a consequence?)

And 8 months since the government and Lib alliance gazumped the ACT Greens proposed Bill, stating that their discussion paper was on its way.

WHERE IS THAT DISCUSSION PAPER AND WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG?

It is a matter for enormous frustration and concern to groups involved in the welfare of companion animals that so little progress has been made in such a long time. The logjam would appear to be with AWAC completing its work. Perhaps affected pet shops and pet breeders are holding it up in the hope that it can’t be finalized by the next election.

Whatever the reason, it seems that this significant animal welfare issue has completely fallen off the ACT Government’s agenda, and it seems that it is highly unlikely that processes will be completed and legislation passed before the next election. In the meantime the RSPCA and DAS have to deal with large numbers of unwanted animals.

It is just extraordinary that the process is taking so long.

If the Victorian Government can move on this and bring in legislation, and the issues would be much harder in that much larger State, why not the ACT government?

They haven’t even managed to get to the Discussion Paper stage!!

DRP Comment:

We need to be constantly vigilant on any Govt. PR and spin exercise and hold them to account on their promises. What are your thoughts?

ACTION TO TAKE:

Write to Katy Gallagher, MLA, Chief Minister and ask where is the Discussion Paper?

Katy Gallagher MLA

gallagher @act.gov.au

GPO Box 1020, Canberra, ACT, 2601

02 6205 0840

Summary of links

Pet lovers  support Greens Animal  Welfare Bill, April 2011

Political allies clash on reforms  May 4th 2011

Greens would legislate ahead of consultation May 5th 2011

Govt, Libs vote for inaction on animal reforms  May 5th 2011

Greens proposed Bill and explanation, April 2011

Hansard record – debate Animal Welfare Amendment Bill,  May 2011

Animal Welfare Advisory Commitee  2010 (Members)

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