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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 980 ..


There are many organisations that are working in this space. One of the great things about this part of our community is that these organisations have stepped up where there has been a void in government services. The government cannot deliver everything and the government should not seek to deliver everything. There are many instances where private organisations and collectives of individuals can stand up and do a much better job than can the government. It is important that we remember that and it is important that we incorporate into our philosophy and into our working policies in this place that an individual or a volunteer that has a dedication and commitment towards a particular cause is far more likely to be more productive in that space than a government agency is. Where possible, we should be turning to organisations like the RSPCA to provide services on behalf of the community rather than trying to do everything in house as a government.

The RSPCA is a classic example of an organisation which has a cause. It has 500-plus volunteers. They really do have a productivity that the government simply could not match.

I commend the RSPCA and all the other organisations I have mentioned today. I look forward to being involved in the development of better policies and better legislation for and promotion of domestic animals in and around Canberra.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (12.22): I would like to thank Ms Porter for introducing this motion today; I know she has a particular interest in the issue and in animal welfare in general.

The motion as presented today reiterates something which we all already agree with. Members will recall that in the last sitting week many of us spoke at length about the importance of responsible pet ownership in the context of the domestic animals amendment bill.

I would like to say that I largely agree with the speeches of both Mr Coe and Ms Porter. We all are in favour of responsible domestic pet ownership; pet ownership can be one of the joys of life. But if we are going to talk about animal welfare, there are some important elements which are missing from this motion. I foreshadow that at the end of my speech I will be moving an amendment which has already been circulated.

What is missing highlights a really important problematical issue with animal welfare legislation—that is, it does not apply to all animals; it applies only to a small fraction of animals. In general, it applies to domestic animals, which are the most visible animals to society. In the scheme of things, these are the animals which tend to have the fewest welfare issues to worry about. An animal that is a domestic pet, a loved part of a family, generally does not have major welfare issues to worry about. It is the other animals that have more issues.

Animal welfare is a very interesting and vexed area. I am pleased that Mr Coe has singled out Animal Liberation as one of the many groups that are concerned about animal welfare. There are a lot of animals—snails, flies, butterflies and fleas as well


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