Pet de-sexing project set to go national

PHILANTHROPIST businesswoman Jan Cameron is funding a multi-million-dollar national network of not-for-profit veterinary centres — or “public hospitals for animals”– to slash the cost of de-sexing cats and dogs.

It is hoped this could end the cruelty of having at least one-third of all dogs and up to two-thirds of cats put down nationally because they are unwanted.

The wealthy founder of the Kathmandu outdoor goods chain said she planned to fund five fixed and two mobile clinics in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.

These community vet clinics, the first of which is running in Hobart, will offer cut-price de-sexing and other procedures for pets of people who would otherwise struggle to afford the cost.

The Hobart-based Ms Cameron is calling for public donations to expand the project, with the aim of “getting to zero” the number of unwanted cats and dogs being put down.

“This is a national issue that people despair about and throw their hands up at but there is a solution,” Ms Cameron said.

“The primary goal is to bring the population under control so these domestic pets do have homes ultimately and are not suffering out on the streets, and not causing any damage to native wildlife. The idea is to end this cycle of destruction of having to kill hundreds of thousands of animals every year that are not wanted.”

Modelled on the success of a clinic run by Animal Welfare League Queensland on the Gold Coast, which has slashed the number of unwanted cats and dogs being euthanased, Ms Cameron said the clinics would offer “radically lower” prices.

The de-sexing of a female cat will cost $94, rather than commercial rates of $150-$200, while de-sexing of a female dog will be $194, compared with commercial rates of $250-$400.

The clinics will offer flexible payment plans. “There can be garnisheeing of people’s pensions — $2 a week, something that doesn’t make a difference to their lives, but they end up with a de-sexed and micro-chipped cat,” Ms Cameron said.

As well as the Hobart clinic, opened months ago, there are plans for fixed clinics in Northern Rivers and western Sydney in NSW, and Maryborough and Brisbane in Queensland. Two mobile clinics are planned, in Western Australia and in western Queensland.

The estimated $3 million cost of the clinics would be met by Ms Cameron’s Elsie Cameron Foundation, and donations would help to expand the project.

Since opening in 2001, the AWL Gold Coast shelter has reduced the number of stray and surrendered animals needing to be put down to 9 per cent of dogs and 24 per cent of cats.

Ms Cameron said this compared with the national RSPCA average “kill rate” for unwanted dogs of 29 per cent and 59 per cent for cats, and the NSW council pound average of 39 per cent for dogs and 68 per cent for cats.

The Australian Veterinary Association has welcomed Ms Cameron’s commitment, but warned subsidised clinics needed to be well-managed to avoid “bad blood” with private vets, and tightly focused to avoid abuse.

“If people with a Mercedes come and get it done because it’s a cheaper option, then that money generated by fundraising or subsidisation is wasted,” said AVA past president Mark Lawrie.

The Getting to Zero clinic, operating in the Hobart suburb of Lenah Valley for several months, said this had not been a problem.

“It’s definitely people from lower socioeconomic areas who haven’t taken their pet to a vet before,” said vet Tering Davies.

“We’ve been booked out for two months de-sexing, de-sexing, de-sexing. We’ve done orthopedics, amputations, dental work, including pulling out rotten teeth that should have been done years ago,” Dr Davies said.

 Vet Tering Davies and Cody the spaniel at the Hobart community veterinary hospital funded by Tasmanian philanthropist Jan Cameron. Picture: Peter Mathew Source: The Australian

11-05-01 Tering Davies

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7 Comments

Filed under Tasmania

7 responses to “Pet de-sexing project set to go national

  1. angela murphy

    Fantastic, this is just whats needed all over the world, if every vet spared a day to do charity desexing, the problem would quickly be resolved. Wish I was a wealthy lady and a vet. Jan Cameron you are a hero

  2. Beck

    This is fantastic!! Jan Cameron deserves a pat on the back! What a generous lady! This will help so many people and pets, a drop the number of needless euthanasias on unwanted pets. People will be able to have pets and care for them properly, and be able to give them the treatment they need. What a boon to pet owners and pet rescue organisations! Well done! I will support this!

  3. The next challenge will be to ensure the AVA doesn’t undermine this fantastic new development. The only thing they’ll see in this is a potential drop in income for their members re those particular procedures.

  4. Mon Pung

    Excellent news for all pets and owners.

    Thank-you for what you are doing for the animals in society,

    Cheers Monica

  5. This is terrific news! Hopefully, it will work and help small rescue groups to cope better. We have been buckling under the strain lately with the amount of unwanted cats and kittens needing our help. I am absolutely thrilled that Ms Cameron is doing this!

  6. Pamela.

    It’s great to see a wealthy person doing good for other species for a change. It seems that most vets are more concerned with profits than preventing the suffering of animals by truly affordable desexing. This should be mandatory, and pro rata acording to income bracket.

  7. E J Hutton

    Bless her!
    The price of vet care is astronomical. One never gets out of a vet clinic under $150.00 for whatever the issue. There are many people who do without so much to take care of their pets. I am not saying that vets are not entitled to due compensation for their years of study but the fees charged are out of balance with the cost to them for the drugs they hand out and the profit made on Vaccinations and microchipping.
    Public animal clinics are certainly the answer and if profit driven vets have their noses put out of joint, then they don’t have the welfare of animals put before lining their pockets.

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