The Sunday Mercury – column/Anne Boxhall; Sunday 29 2013
Tasmania is poised to make 2014 a better year for companion animals with new regulations on the breeding and selling of puppies.
Due to the growth in large scale commercial breeding operations, other states are doing the same. Last week Victoria announced its revised mandatory code of practice for breeding and rearing businesses, claiming it to be strictest set of regulations in the world to protect the welfare of domestic animals. It’s come about as part of that Government’s commitment to crack down on rogue puppy farms and involved feedback through 25,350 submissions. The code includes breeding limits to improve the likelihood of animals successfully finding homes, requirements on staffing levels to ensure standards of care and requirements on exercise, enrichment, socialisation and handling. These elements impact directly on the suitability of animals as pets. Victorian breeders must register with their local council and abide by the code. All advertisements of dogs or cats for sale must include the animal’s microchip number or the breeder’s animal business registration number to ensure traceability. For those interested, the Victorian government has provided tools, templates and a breeder training course on their website – www.depi.vic.gov.au/pets
Responsible breeders have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this Victorian model. In the Australian Capital Territory, a registration model applies to all owners of un-desexed dogs, regardless of whether owners intend to breed from them or not. Under this system, the cost of breeder registration can act as a motivator for owners to de-sex their animals and avoid accidental litters. A breeder registration system helps limit unwanted litters and the number of animals surrendered to animal shelters, which in turn helps reduce the cost to the community of managing unwanted animals.
Tasmania’s regulations are yet to be finalised but dogs will be better protected through enforceable standards of care and management enacted during the coming year.