News from NSW – the Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill 2008 – defeated

The above bill by Clover Moore was debated and voted in NSW Parliament on October 11th.

 At the outset,  Chris Hartcher (Terrigal) moved to have the motion amended so that the outcome would be a parliamentary Inquiry, instead of a debate on the Bill. This amendment was rejected 44:33, and so the debate on the proposed Bill proceeded.

There then followed a number of speeches against and for the proposed Bill ending in a summary final reply by Clover Moore.

We listened to the debate and have analysed the speeches from Hansard.

You can download the debate here

You can make your own mind up, but here are our comments:

The speeches by the Members opposing the Bill were nothing short of disgraceful. When the first Minister to speak (Paul McLeay, Heathcote) said “One of the highlights of my family’s weekly shopping trip with our 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son is to go to the local pet stores and have a look in the windows. Our children like to look at the dogs and animals that are for sale.”…. you get an  idea of what is going to follow.

He opines in his speech:  “It is highly unlikely that the general community would support the invasiveness and cost of inspectorate that this would require”

All I can say is that then he didn’t listen to those of the general community who want change on behalf of the animals.

Chris Hartcher (Terrigal) made a lengthy speech that reiterated and stressed all the reasons that the opponents of the Bill had originally proposed, thereby putting a nail in the coffin of any chance to get the Bill through, but he then ended by saying that because this is such an important issue, the bill should not be voted down today, but recommended “a select committee to investigate the issues the bill raises and bring back to Parliament a full report on the advancement of the protection of mammals in NSW”.

This would have been a good outcome for progress.

Alan Ashton (East Hills) made a totally pathetic lengthy ramble starting with “the bill sets out ways to do this ( ie protect the lives and well being of dogs, cats) that are clearly out of steps with community needs and expectations”

Really? Where did he get that idea from?

Minister Ashton stressed his belief that the “government already has appropriate legislation in place that regulates the pet industry”

Really?

He then rambled on around a range of issues such as how well microchipping works and his own efforts at rehoming dogs he found that had been microchipped. He spoke about his belief (or Minister MacDonald’s belief?) that “the animal trades codes  ( And the Prevention of Cruelty Act) provide a solid foundation for future progress on a broad range of animal trade issues”.

Just how out of touch can you be? He said that “since the introduction of this code (Pet Shop Code of Practice) in 2008, experience indicates that it has worked effectively”.

(DRP comment: we will follow up with the Minister to ask exactly where he got this information from, because there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Code is just a cosmetic job to make it appear that the Government has done something – no more).

Finally Mr Ashton spoke about the issue of breeding and selling of working dogs. He said that “the provisions (for working dogs in the 2007 Bill) are unworkable and demonstrate that the member from Sydney (Clover Moore) does not understand rural NSW”!!

And yet, this provision was DELETED by Clover Moore from the 2008 version of the Bill after she had listened to this objection by the farmers in the 2007 version of the Bill.

Minister Ashton, you need a new speech writer – just how out of touch with the proposed Bill could you be? Clover Moore later described Ashton’s contribution as “misinformation put before Parliament” (DRP translation: ie a lie).

Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) spoke positively for the Bill (dowload here) and reiterated the need for an Inquiry, should the Bill not be voted for. Of note, he said “While the Bill will not be supported by the House, it and the sentiments expressed by Members…should serve as a wake up call for the industry to further improve its policies and codes of practice, and drive out the unscrupulous minority”.

Peter Besseling (Port Macquarie) spoke and also recommended referring the Bill to a Legislative Council committee.

Finally Clover Moore replied to the speeches. Her final speech is well worth reading and her comments referring to the comments made are especially noteworthy. (Download here)

She opened up by stating that: “it is quite clear that the pet industry and the Australian Veterinary Association want to protect their business”.

There are too many points to comment on here, but we especially liked the comment:

“In response to the bill, the Government has tweaked an existing code of practice. That tweaking is pathetic”.

Ms Moore stressed “the conflict of interests in the bodies that advise government” that would be exposed by an open Inquiry.

“There is no substance to the government’s claims, other than responding to the vested interests of the pet industry. This is a result that should make this parliament hang its head in shame”.

We agree wholeheartedly and commend Minister Clover Moore for her stand on this matter.

DRP comment:

The Ministers speaking against the Bill focussed exclusively on the original “objections” provide by the pet industry and the NSW Veterinary Association in 2007 – objections that were strongly and assertively countered by many groups supporting the Bill over the following 18 months.

Ministers received numerous letters and information from many groups – Deathrowpets, from NSW Young Lawyers Animal Law Committee (download here), Cat Rescue and Paws for Action, amongst others explaining in depth why the objections provided by the opponents to the Bill was wrong.

This information and rebuttal of the information provided by the opponents to the Bill was totally ignored. Not even mentioned. Why?

In our view the Members speaking against the Bill could have saved a lot of taxpayer’s time and money and simply said “Minister Ian Macdonald (DPI) says no, and so no, we’re not going to vote for the Bill, lets not waste time on a sham of a debate.”

So much for Parliamentary debate.

Note: some people are saying that only 3 Ministers voted for the bill. This is not correct. Some of the Parliamentary processes are a bit beyond us mere mortals, but what actually happened was that the vote was carried out in behind closed doors and only 3 Ministers, included Ms Moore, voted for a recount, and that was denied. We dont know how many voted for or against. So much for transparency.

Actions you can take:

  1. Please write to Minister Clover Moore to thank her for her long term efforts on behalf of the animals and for her work on the Bill. Please ask that she consider tabling a new Bill as soon possible requiring mandatory desexing of household pets
  2. Please write to Minister Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) and send your thanks for his efforts and support of the bill, and would he consider tabling a Bill requiring mandatory desexing of household pets

Public parliamentary inquiry news…..

dog_kitten_bars_small.jpgText from Fix NSW Animal Policy:

Last week a call for a Public Parliamentary Inquiry into the Pet Industry was put forward by Senator Ian Cohen after a massive public outcry in the SMH, the nation’s top newspaper.

 So why a public parliamentary inquiry?

The public want the facts. NSW deserves a full solution that encompasses all aspects of the supply chain and makes recommendations towards a total solution, not just window dressing.

The inquiry was announced in the SMH here ….  

The Pet Industry has naturally knocked back the inquiry, stating that a specialist review would be enough. Given that the majority of specialists either work for/are members of the Pet Industry, an inquiry under oath in a formal parliamentary setting is more appropriate. Then we can be sure of a transparent and formal process with the full accountability and recognition of all the agencies and organisations involved.

There is too much money and self interest involved in this problem to allow a secret review. .the estimated $60 million dollars that that charities, the NSW government and the taxpayer pays every year on this issue far outweighs the cost of an inquiry (which, by the way, is largely free . . .  committee’s are already formed and paid for . . that’s all they do)

Council workers, pounds, volunteers and the NSW tax payer need greater support on this problem, estimated to be costing as much as $60m a year. The inquiry will finally gather solid information that the NSW Government can use to make business decisions to fix NSW Animal Policies and heal the system.

visit the CatRescue Blog at http://www.catrescue.com.au/blog
visit http://www.fixnswanimalpolicy.com 

NSW pound workers deserve better support, Rangers deserve better support, Vets and Vet Nurses are tired of the sickness of mass bred animals. The volunteers and charities that are going broke trying to desparately solve this problem need you.

CatRescue NSW Limited
www.catrescue.com.au

DRP: tell us what you think!

How do you think an independent Inquiry will help? Who do you think will seek to avoid it?

Recent press articles…….

There has been a flurry of newspaper articles over the past few weeks……

Pet industry, animal groups bares teeth over inquiry SMH Jan 16 09

“A bitter war of words has erupted between animal welfare groups and the pet industry over calls for a public inquiry into the number of healthy dogs and cats that are killed annually.

Large numbers of animals are euthanased each year in pounds run by the RSPCA, local councils and other groups yet the exact figures – and the reasons they end up being killed – are hotly disputed.  To read article, click here……

Mysterious deaths spark anger as Sydney dog pounds kill pets Daily Telegraph, Jan 14 09

“TANGO was too aggressive, Alice too old, Coco too sick and Bosco too psycho. All – and hundreds more – are now dead.

Mysterious deaths at one of the city’s biggest pounds have sparked a major campaign by animal welfare and rescue groups to end the bloodletting at The Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.” To read article, click here…..

Grim end for Christmas puppies SMH, Dec 23 09

“It would be a hard heart that could resist the sight of puppies tumbling over one another in a pet shop window.

Many people do succumb to their charms, especially at this time of year, paying up to $1500 to take home an instant new family member.

But behind this heart-warming scene a venomous debate is raging about the way puppies are bred and sold. Opponents claim it is a profit-driven, inhumane business that indirectly causes the destruction of more than 60,000 unwanted dogs a year.” To read article, click here….

Dead dogs walking get reprieve SMH, Dec 23 09

“WITHIN about 100 metres of Monika Biernacki’s property at Ingleside you may as well turn off the GPS, open the car window and follow your ears.

This is a semi-rural part of Sydney with houses spaced wide apart on big blocks – which is a good thing, because the 100 or so dogs whose barking will guide you the last part of the journey to Monika’s Doggie Rescue make one hell of a racket.” To read article, click here…

RSPCA says adoption is best SMH Dec 23 09

“Nationwide last year, the RSPCA received 70,514 dogs at its pounds. Of those, 19,276 were rehomed but nearly 24,000 were put down.

And both those figures are growing. In fact, the number of dogs received in shelters and pounds has gone up by more than 20 per cent in five years.” To read article, click here….

Council pounces, stripping Lort Smith of its pound status The Age, Dec 08

“VICTORIA’S largest animal hospital has been banned from finding new homes for cats and dogs lost in the City of Melbourne, as local pounds brace for a sharp increase in the number of pets dumped over Christmas.

After helping to rehouse abandoned pets for the past 75 years, Lort Smith Animal Hospital has suddenly been ordered by Melbourne City Council to transfer all seized animals to a North Melbourne pound.” To read article, click here…..

Backyard puppy factories just waiting for the next bitch on heat The Age, Nov 23 08

“SHE is a dog with no name who lives in a bric-a-brac jumble by her master’s back door. Her owner appears surprised when asked her name and seems to pluck “Suzy” from the air. A small, grey-and-white crossbreed with matted hair, she doesn’t respond to Suzy. She snarls and squabbles with her litter of hungry pups over a bowl of dog pellets.

Like thousands of fertile bitches across Victoria, Suzy earns her keep by delivering puppies….. “To read article, click here….

RSPCA urges more control on exported pups The Age, Nov 30 08

“ANIMAL rights activists are calling for the Federal Government to close a loophole that allows thousands of Australian puppies to be sold to Asian pet farms to be used as breeders.” To read article, click here….

DRP: What are your thoughts on these articles?

Please let us know if you see any news articles – forward us the links so we can keep people informed.

This is how dog breeders and pet shops are being duped….

DogsNSW and the ASAVA (Australian Small Animals Veterinary Association) have sided with PIAA (Pet Industry Association Australia) in saying no to the proposed Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill 2009. In November last year, a joint letter , Page 1 & Page 2 (PIAA, DogsNSW and ASAVA ) went out to every Minister in NSW.

It is clear that PIAA’s strategy is to scaremonger pet shops and dog breeders into believing that the proposed Bill is an artifact designed to remove the rights of people to own pets and to remove the rights from dog breeders. PIAA have publically, through Pet Industry News accused the proponents of the Bill as being puppets of PETA.

In turn, the President of DogsNSW, Frank Pieterse has issued a proclamation that the Bill is no more than a device to remove Breeders’ rights. We were told by one breeder:” they (PIAA) managed to convince the management of DogsNSW that it was only the beginning of a much grander plan – one to limit registered breeders as well.”

We have sent letters :

refuting these allegations and pointing out the obvious strategy of PIAA to undermine efforts to create meaningful change to the NSW pet industry. An industry that kills over 60,000 healthy cats and dogs a year in NSW Pounds. An industry of which all three of these associations are contributors. The situation is likely no different in other States of Australia.

Finally, here is a message sent to Breeders by ‘fix nsw animal policy’:

 “The President of DOGS NSW, has sent a letter to all members. This has claimed that the Animal (Regulation of Sale) bill aims to set up “Confinement, transport and Welfare” restrictions for Breeders. (PS, these standards already exist under POCTA and DPI acts)
DOGS NSW then went on to state that these could include:
• Breed Specific Laws, eg, ban breeding of Brachycephlic dogs, large dogs, small dogs, short legged dogs, dogs with loose skin, etc. (this is not mentioned in the bill at all)
• Limit the numbers of dogs that you can own or breed. (this is not mentioned in the bill at all)
• Restrictive conditions on breeding and ownership of dogs. (this is not mentioned in the bill at all)
• Restriction of Dog Shows. (this is not mentioned in the bill at all)
• Ongoing responsibility if you sell a dog that subsequently becomes ill. (this is not mentioned in the bill at all)
• Product liability for the life of a dog that you sell. (this is not mentioned in the bill at all)
• Phase out your rights to own, breed and show dogs. (this is not mentioned in the bill at all)

No-where in the Bill are any of these items listed. They made it up. Please read the bill and try to find them. Read more………

DRP: What do you think about these 3 organisations jointly approaching the government? What do you think about PIAA’s “this is the thin edge of the wedge” scaremongering ?