Decision keeps the doggy in the window

The Canberra Times; 21 Dec, 2010

The ACT Government will not support the Greens proposed animal welfare laws which sought to ban puppy displays in pet shop windows.
The draft legislation outlawed the sale of puppies and kittens from shops and markets with stores limited to selling pets on behalf of animal shelters.

Chief minister Jon Stanhope said the changes were ill-considered and would drive Canberrans to underground breeders.

He said only 14 per cent of pet sales occurred through pet shops.

”Banning the shop sale of pets from reputable breeders would lead to a surge in the number of animals purchased through the internet, at markets and over the back fence,” Mr Stanhope said.

But the Greens say the new laws would have protected animals and stopped the practice of intensive puppy farming. Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan said the Government had two years to regulate the industry but failed to act.

”I’m disappointed because it’s the usual thing we see from Mr Stanhope and this Government when they are embarrassed because they haven’t done something themselves instead of actively engaging, they just rubbish it,” Ms Bresnan said.

For more on this story, including the response of chief executive officer of RSPCA ACT Michael Linke, see the print edition of today’s Canberra Times.

Go here for original article

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5 Comments

Filed under ACT, RSPCA ACT

5 responses to “Decision keeps the doggy in the window

  1. companionanimalnews

    The arguments made by Stanhope are exactly the same arguments proferred by the DPI Minister in NSW when Clover Moores Animals (Regulation of Sale Bill) ws defeated. They are words parroted from documents sent by PIAA and their lobbyists as evidence to opose the attempts to regulate this industry. Where do they get this 14% figure from?? Why do we let them get away with this nonesense?

  2. companionanimalnews

    It is important to understand that the lobbying has only just started and this is just a first off the cuff comment by the Minister. I spoke today with the Green’s staff member and they are confident of getting the public on-side with the proposed Bill, but a lot of lobbying needs to be done between now and when the Bill is tabled next year. It’s not a done deal by any means.

  3. Andrew Antoniolli

    Whilst I have not been following this matter closely, my concern is that banning pet shops from the sale of puppies and kittens in favour of only selling abandoned pets from shelters has not considered the ramifications. I will not comment on CM Stanhope’s claims, except to say that I agree that this may force buyers and sellers underground and away from the prying eyes of regulators and legislators.
    It may also bring about claims of ‘breach of trade and competition laws’.
    These ideas/laws will in effect have the very affect that those proposing this idea are hoping to stop. It won’t work.
    For mine the only way to have an effect on the problems associated with ‘impulse buying’ and ‘unchecked and uncontrolled puppy farms’ is to introduce laws that target the symptoms/problems directly.
    The focus should be on ‘mandatory’ code of practice for pet shop owners which require education of people buying a pet etc. Thi should be regulated amd enforced. Pet owners should be vetted by the retailer before acquiring a pet.
    Further, laws that target and control the operation of large scale breeders is warranted and much overdue.

  4. companionanimalnews

    Thank you Andrew. The article doesn’t do full justice to the Bill proposed by the Greens, which is aimed at regulating the currently un-regulated breeding cycle which is a major cause of the problem. There are groups – PIAA – AVA – Breeders – who do not want any interference in their respective trades, and they are very good at lobbying State Governements through their membership of the various Animal Welfare Advisory Commitees from whom Ministers like Stanhope take their “esteemed advice” from “respected peak body groups”. We have seen this on many occassions in different States.

    The trade in animals is already “underground” (whatever that really means) – do a search on-line for dog/cat sellers and you will see what I mean. This is NOT just about pet shops. It is far wider and deeper than that.

    And pet shops working hard to move “product” off the shelves ( ie animals) will never ever educate the public about the responsibilities involved. Why would they do anything to stop a potential purchase? We are living in cuckoo land if we think that any law ( enforceable by who exactly?) will ever change that behaviour.

    I would encourage you to look at bthe proposed legislation and check out for yourself exactly what it is proposing:
    http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ed/db_40359/default.asp
    http://act.greens.org.au/archives/2723

  5. Andrew Antoniolli

    I acknowledge your response, however, continue to point out the wink link in your proposal. Regardless of the underground/backfence trade of pupies and kittens, the removal of pups and kittens from pet shops will be seen as a restriction of trade and I’m sure it would be overturned in a court of law.
    I am closely associated with an animal welfare organisation and I heavily promote the idea of rescuing/rehoming pets from shelters, however, to suggest that as the only source of trade (and/or greatly restricting trade so that it becomes the primary source of pets) is an unrealistic pipe dream. People want choice, some want to know the history of the dog and it’s problems, they want to pick a breed of dog. You can’t force shelter dogs upon a buyer; it must be in their heart and conscience to do that.
    There is no denying the problems that exst and that too many pets become unwanted and euthanised, however, there are still a good many people who buy puppies and kittens and are responsible owners. I think you are throwing the baby out with the bath water and need to focus on tightening up the industry to get rid of the cowboys and this can be achieved with stronger regulation and legislation – not restricting trade as this will merely have the opposite affect.
    The tide is slowly turning with more and more people turning, voluntarily, towards rescuing shelter pets and providing them with loving homes.
    That is my opinion, however, I respect your view.

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