Media Release NSW Gov; Monday, August 15, 2011
TASKFORCE FORMED TO KEEP PETS OUT OF POUNDS
Minister for Local Government, Don Page, and Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, have announced the establishment of the State‟s first Companion Animals Taskforce.
High rates of pet euthanasia in NSW are a driving force behind the creation of the Taskforce. Recent figures show that in the last five years, more than 150,000 dogs and cats have been euthanased in pounds across the State. Mr Page, whose portfolio covers the Companion Animals Act, said the new Taskforce will aim to reduce current rates of pet euthanasia and promote responsible pet ownership in NSW.
“This Taskforce is part of the NSW Government‟s commitment to increasing both microchipping and desexing of cats and dogs, while also reducing the number of unwanted animals and euthanasia rates in the State‟s council pounds,” Mr Page said.
“Recent statistics show that, of the animals arriving at NSW pounds each year, about one third of dogs and nearly 70 per cent of cats are euthanased. “These are shocking statistics and the establishment of the Taskforce recognises the rights of the tens of thousands of companion animals, and will ensure that their voice is heard in Parliament.”
The new Taskforce, which will be chaired by Member for Charlestown Andrew Cornwell, will investigate a range of companion animal issues including animal breeding practices and „puppy farms‟, desexing, micro-chipping, and develop initiatives to promote responsible pet ownership.
Ms Hodgkinson, whose portfolio covers the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, said the Taskforce is expected to provide frank advice on the current companion animal framework, as well as how the NSW Government can better protect the welfare of our State‟s pets.
“NSW has the highest level of pet ownership in Australia and, as such, we want to ensure there is a focus on issues such as puppy farms, as well as how we can continue to crack down on poor industry practices.
“The Taskforce will develop a Discussion Paper and consult closely with pet lovers, industry groups and the wider public,” Ms Hodgkinson said. Mr Page said the Taskforce will promote loud and clear that pet ownership is a serious responsibility.
“The Taskforce will assist councils and local communities to increase micro-chipping, desexing and lifetime registration of cats and dogs,” Mr Page said. Ms Hodgkinson said the Taskforce brings together leading animal welfare experts, members of the companion animal industry, local government representatives, and will be led by Andrew Cornwell, an experienced veterinarian before entering politics.
“As a trained veterinarian, with experience in metropolitan and regional areas, Mr Cornwell has a close understanding of animal welfare issues and is well placed to lead the taskforce,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Members of the Companion Animals Taskforce Membership include: Animal Welfare League NSW Australian Companion Animal Council Australian Veterinary Association Cat Protection Society Department of Premier and Cabinet Division of Local Government Dogs NSW Local Government and Shires Association NSW Department of Primary Industries Pet Industry Association Australia RSPCA NSW The Australian Institute of Local Government Rangers
For more information, visit the Division of Local Government website: http://www.dlg.nsw.gov.au