Herald Sun,AAP, 16 Sept 2012
About 350 protesters with their pooches, ranging from great danes to poodles, met on the steps of parliament in Melbourne on Sunday to condemn the factory farming practice which they say forces dogs into a constant cycle of breeding form birth to death.
Rally organiser Debra Tranter said the dogs were typically restricted to filthy cages where they were treated as breeding machines to supply the pet shop industry.
Ms Tranter said the government must clamp down on more than 100 illegal factories, but also close the 70 legal farms which operate under what she described as a weak code of practice.
“On these legal factories you’re allowed to confine a dog in a cage for 23 hours and 40 minutes per day,” she said.
“You don’t need to provide any warm bedding and there’s no cap to the amount of litters that dog can have, so it can be legally bred for birth to death.
“There’s so many alternatives. We’ve got rescue groups, pounds, shelters. We’ve also got registered breeders. We don’t need to be factory farming them for the pet shop industry.”
Ms Tranter, the founder of Oscar’s Law, a group dedicated to the closure of the factories, said puppy factories were now on the political agenda after years of campaigning.
She welcomed the Victorian government’s move to review the code of practice governing the legal farming, but said it must go further.
Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh, who addressed the rally, said the revised code would soon be released for public comment.
“We have been consulting for the past 10 months with animal welfare and dog organisations on how to improve the code to ensure the conditions reflect the views and values of the Victorian community,” he said.
Mr Walsh said Victorian puppy farm operators were facing random inspections, with about 20 suspected non-compliant breeders searched since the government introduced tougher legislation in January.
Animal welfare groups staged similar protests in Sydney and Adelaide on Sunday.