The Age August 1, 2013 Thomas O’Byrne
The RSPCA has slammed the State Government’s proposed amendments to animal welfare requirements at legitimate breeding business, accusing the government of “effectively legalising” abhorrent conditions for animals.
The State Government is currently undertaking a review of its code of practice regarding minimum standards of care for domestic animal breeding businesses, following a pre-election promise to crackdown on illegal puppy farms and animal abuse.
But a proposed revision of the code, which has been released for public consultation, has been strongly condemned by the RSPCA.
The animal welfare society claims the proposed draft lacks several important elements, including the definition of humane euthanasia methods as well as a maximum breeding age for animals.
“This is the code that has led to the abhorrent puppy factory conditions operating throughout Victoria and it effectively legalises these conditions and practices,” RSPCA Victoria CEO Maria Mercurio said.
“It appears that the State Government is putting the profitability of puppy factories ahead of the welfare of thousands of Victorian animals.”
However, a Department of Environment and Primary Industries spokesman reiterated that the code was still in its consultation phase, which concludes on August 14.
“The consultation process is the opportunity for the RSPCA and all other interested organisations and individuals to provide feedback on the proposed revised code,” the spokesman said.
Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh defended the Coalition’s animal welfare policies, pointing to a range of Coalition animal welfare reforms which included giving the RSPCA the same powers as local councils to inspect breeding operations.
“The Victorian Coalition has done more in the last two years to lift animal welfare standards than the previous Labor administration did in a decade,” he said.
Last year, the government introduced tougher penalties to combat illegal puppy farms and animal cruelty. In announcing the new laws last January, Mr Walsh said the changes would send “a strong message” to people who abuse animals.